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Coffee with the Jets: The debate of Richardson vs. Wilkerson

By Luis Tirado Jr.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 13: Muhammad Wilkerson #96 of the New York Jets sacks Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans in the second quarter during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 13, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 13: Muhammad Wilkerson #96 of the New York Jets sacks Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans in the second quarter during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 13, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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In this edition of Coffee with the New York Jets, a loyal reader asks who the franchise should keep if Sheldon Richardson has a good year and Muhammad Wilkerson has another sub par or worse year.

The defensive line of the New York Jets is easily the strongest part of the team heading into the regular season. The Jets are lucky to have not one but two Pro Bowl defensive ends that if they’re both playing well, truly strike fear into quarterbacks across the NFL. Unfortunately, while both are talented, they also have some issues when it comes to the little things that are also just as important as the stats sheet.

Defensive end Sheldon Richardson and his fellow teammate Muhammad Wilkerson both come with a few red flags. Between the two, Richardson poses more of a locker room distraction than Wilkerson due to his suspensions by the league as well as being late to team meetings. Wilkerson hasn’t had his name in the headlines for all the wrong reasons with the exception of last season where he was disciplined by head coach Todd Bowles for also being late to mandatory team meetings.

So what happens this upcoming season if one plays better than the other for the Jets? In case you didn’t know, my Coffee with the Jets series asks loyal readers to submit any questions they’d like to be answered right here on The Jet Press. This time around, Timothy Donovan asked this interesting question via Twitter:

if Richardson has a good to moderately good year and mo gives the same as last year or worse who do you keep?

— Timothy Donovan (@TimDono48) July 3, 2017

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In the grand scheme of things, my gut says the Jets would only keep Richardson around if he has a squeaky clean season off the field and a monster one on it.

If Richardson returns to form and gets a plethora of sacks and doesn’t get into anymore off the field nonsense, it would bode well for his chances to be back in the long-term plans of the Jets.

In the event that does happen to Richardson and Wilkerson has another lackluster season, the Jets would do what makes sense from a production standpoint and keep the better of the two. At the end of the day, it’s all about business and what a player contributes towards winning football games now and in the future, despite their past. Wilkerson’s contract enables the Jets to cut him in 2018 and only take a $9M salary cap hit.

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