Jets will regret Muhammad Wilkerson situation

By Paul A. Esden Jr.
Jan 31, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, New York Giants general manager Mike Maccagnan on the red carpet prior to the NFL Honors award ceremony at Symphony Hall. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 31, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, New York Giants general manager Mike Maccagnan on the red carpet prior to the NFL Honors award ceremony at Symphony Hall. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Jets and their continued contract talks with defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson are going nowhere as they’ll regret not taking care of their homegrown talent.

Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson by many accounts continues to get no respect. It wasn’t too long ago that if the Jets would have simply re-signed Wilkerson last season, they would have saved a ton of money. Now with a new general manager now dealing with contract negotiations, it’s going to be tough to give him the huge payday Wilkerson deserves thanks to everything he’s done on and off the field for the New York Jets.

Related Story: Mike Maccagnan has much more to prove

Reading football articles around the internet, there was an interesting one about a new approach the Philadelphia Eagles have taken since moving on from head coach Chip Kelly. The article had direct quotes from Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, here is the specific quote that really stuck out from Roseman: Eagles made mistakes with big spending by Around the NFL writer, Marc Sessler:

“We went and looked at our plan for our roster over the next couple of years and said we will never let Fletcher Cox leave the building,” Roseman said. “We will never let Lane leave the building, we will never let Zach … if we do it now, we do it a little early and maybe save on those guys and add to the team, keep as many guys around as possible. We have this core, and we can build off of that.”

The strong sentiment from Roseman can be picked up on just from reading his words. Saying “we will never let so and so go”.

The key here is that a current general manager in Roseman, stated that they went out of their way to re-sign a player, even if “it was a little early”. He spoke about having a core that the team can build around.

Wilkerson is a piece of the current core that this entire team can build around on defense. For some reason it seems more enviable to keep Leonard Williams and Sheldon Richardson as the new core of the defensive line.

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Williams is on a rookie deal that last through 2019 and Richardson’s deal (after the exercised fifth year option) will become a free agent in the 2018 offseason.

It makes sense to keep Williams for as long as possible and Richardson has obvious red flags that has to be concerning to the organization.

While that incident from last season caused some distractions has finally been settled, Richardson truly got lucky with only a one-game suspension:

#Jets DL Sheldon Richardson is suspended for the first game of the 2016 regular season for violating the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 30, 2016

This should be a precursor of what can happen if you ship off Wilkerson to the highest bidder and you have to rely on Richardson. While this could be a one-time incident and something Richardson himself referred to as a “wake up call”, the Jets better hope so.

The point is that it isn’t unheard of for a team to step up to the plate and pay their homegrown talent. In that same article, Roseman said that the Eagles big mistake was bringing in guys from outside the organization and thinking what they were getting as opposed to what they ended up getting.

must read: Leonard Williams is going to be a force

The Jets know what they have in Wilkerson and from the outside looking in, the Jets aren’t going to get back equal value if they ever end up parting ways with their mercurial star. Roseman learned from his mistakes, while it hasn’t been categorized as a mistake for general manager Mike Maccagnan, he should be weary of his colleagues mistakes and take it into account.