The New York Jets refuse to understand the importance of defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and as such, he should not report for training camp.
So far in his young career with the New York Jets, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson has been everything they could ask for and then some. Wilkerson has been a professional both on and off the field and for the past few years, simply can’t get the long-term contract he’s deserving of by the franchise he’s called home for the past five years.
Wilkerson has totaled 184 tackles, 36.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles. His name is never in the headlines for wrong reasons as all he does is continue to hone his craft to become the best defensive end he can be.
Unfortunately it’s all about business and taking away that notion of nice guys finishing last might not work in this scenario. Even though Wilkerson suffered a broken leg injury at the season finale against the Buffalo Bills last season, that shouldn’t be a reason why the Jets can’t reward him not only for his past but what should be some of the best football years of his career coming up.
At just 26-years-old, Wilkerson is entering some of the prime years of his young career. He’s also surrounded by top talent around him and will be a cornerstone on defense. The Jets hit Wilkerson this offseason with the franchise tag as he will more than likely play under it but make no mistake about it, he should not report to training camp due to things have played out in contract negotiations over the years.
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Even last season, when the Jets hired a new leadership regime in head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan, they had a surplus of salary cap space that could have finally gotten this deal done.
Many chimed in that a deal should have transpired then but that’s not how it panned out as the Jets decided to splurge in free agency with other players.
While those moves were important, it’s a shame that homegrown talent, especially an athlete who also was born and raised in Linden, New Jersey can’t get a decent deal after all he’s done for the franchise.
Even though Wilkerson is nowhere near worth the kind of money that J.J. Watt currently earns with the Houston Texans, it’s safe to say he’s made a much bigger impact than Fletcher Cox, who got a massive contract by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Cox has similar stats like Wilkerson but at the end of the day, it is what it is. Hopefully a long-term deal happens to keep Wilkerson on the Jets because if for some reason or other he ends up on another team, it will be something that haunts the organization for years to come.
Overall, Wilkerson should by no means report to training camp to prove the point that sometimes organizations have to take a hard look at reality and not treat players of his caliber like this. You don’t let a homegrown talent, a Pro Bowl athlete that is entering the prime years of his life not get rewarded a respectable contract that gives him financial and long-term stability.