Jets should bench Muhammad Wilkerson for the rest of season

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 3: quarterback Drew Brees
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 3: quarterback Drew Brees /

The New York Jets should send a strong message to the team on the continued tardiness of defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and bench him for the rest of the season.

It’s hard to predict why defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson continues to have his time and attendance be an issue with the New York Jets. For a veteran of seven years in the NFL, this has been a habitual problem for the past three seasons now.

Due to being late once again, for whatever reason it was, head coach Todd Bowles decided to bench him for this Sunday’s Week 15 matchup against the New Orleans Saints. It’s a wise decision for a player who constantly comes late to mandatory team meetings since enough is enough already.

The Jets gave Wilkerson a huge contract extension not so long ago and since then, he’s tremendously regressed both on and off the field. It’s one thing to be hindered due to injury but a completely different story by not even putting in the effort to be a difference-maker on the gridiron.

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Such is the case with Wilkerson since he’s not been hustling or going above and beyond as a defensive end like he used to. At this point in time, Wilkerson has only totaled 26 tackles (career-low) and 3.5 sacks.

For a player that appears to be on the roster bubble since the Jets can cut him this offseason and not take such a huge salary cap hit, he’s doing himself no favors. What Bowles should do, considering that this continues to happen and has been happening since he first got the head coaching job, is to bench Wilkerson for the rest of the season.

His production on the field has been lackluster and giving that opportunity to another player on the depth chart who has earned time to start would continue to bolster everything Bowles is trying to accomplish. All year long Bowles has preached about a culture built on a team-first mentality, not on players who care about themselves on an individual level or are selfish/arrogant to constantly show up late to mandatory team meetings.

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At the end of the day, Wilkerson already has one foot out the door and if Bowles does indeed make a huge statement by benching him for the rest of the season, would guarantee he’s gone the first chance the Jets get to cut him. Wilkerson hasn’t been the same player Jets fans used to love just a few years ago and has turned into a problematic player. The Jets don’t need that kind of problem in the locker room and well, on the football field in their final few games of the season.