Muhammad Wilkerson has more than likely played his last game with the New York Jets in 2017. Expected to be cut this offseason, could they trade him to a team willing to take a chance on him? Here are three reasons why he holds no trade value.
A few years ago, you would have been told to leave the room if you ever said anything bad about defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. At one point, he was one of the top defensive ends in the NFL earning much respect by his peers and opponents alike. The former Pro Bowler enjoyed much success early on in his New York Jets career but just a few years ago, everything went downhill.
Once he got a mega contract extension, fans, coaches, and even general manager Mike Maccagnan knew he undoubtedly deserved it. He always gave 110 percent on every play, never had his name in the headlines for wrong reasons, and was a leader in the locker room.
Wow, have times changes, eh? It’s been two years since that contract extension and not only has Wilkerson regressed but has become a distraction to a team trying to rebuild the right way for future success. Sadly, it will be without Wilkerson due to the fact that he’s been a disappointment ever since he signed his new contract extension.
The Jets could save $11 million by cutting him and make no mistake about it, they will most likely release him rather than finding a team willing to trade for him. Speaking of which, could the Jets trade him to a team willing to take a major risk in hopes of him reverting back to the player that made him famous? Don’t count on it as here are the top three reasons why Wilkerson holds no trade value whatsoever.
In any job, if you’re consistently late to work, meetings, or required commitments, it won’t be long until you’re fired. In the world of professional football, being late to mandatory team meetings speaks volumes on the kind of character and integrity of a player. Yeah, they can’t be fired like any regular person but they’ll be held accountable, to a degree.
Wilkerson was habitually late to team meetings so many times, it led to him being suspended from playing on defense since head coach Todd Bowles had enough. It’s embarrassing, to say the least, considering all the younger players in the Jets locker room that were probably just as surprised to see Wilkerson always late to meetings that required his presence.
It’s one thing to be late if you’re a rookie and adjusting to life in the NFL. It’s a totally different situation if you’re a veteran and should know better. For all that money the Jets invested in Wilkerson, being on time for meetings involving game planning, strategy, and execution is inexcusable.
Wilkerson blew a golden opportunity to not only be a premier starting defensive end but to be a great leader that led by example. Why would a team take a chance on a player that didn’t live up to the basics of being punctual? It’s unprofessional and something that is frowned upon by general managers since it’s such a basic fundamental to have at this stage of his career.
Next: 2. Lack of hustle
2. Lack of hustle
Numerous times last season and especially in 2016, it was common to see Wilkerson take plays off on defense. As a matter of fact, the Jets should have benched him sooner rather than later and given his reps to another defensive end that would have actually hustled on the gridiron.
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Wilkerson’s lack of hustle was evident for the past two years and if fans saw it, imagine what other teams across the league must think of him now? He’s not worth trading for since the Jets would likely want a draft pick and/or player(s) in order to part ways with him.
No team would take such a risk and part with draft picks since they’re so valuable to teams that want to add top young talent to their roster. Now, if Wilkerson had better stats over the past few years, that wouldn’t be the case but reality says if he’s been that bad since his contract extension, he’s not going to magically turn into a defensive star again overnight.
Not giving it his all on the field speaks volumes about him giving up or simply not having that sense of urgency to do what is best for himself and his team. Again, teams won’t want a player who consistently took off plays when it mattered most during the regular season.
Next: 1. Stats never lie
1. Stats never lie
Of course, when it comes to football, stats never lie and tell you, for the most part, everything you need to know about a player. Ever since he signed his contract extension in 2016, Wilkerson’s stats leave much to be desired, to say the least.
In 2016 and 2017, Wilkerson totaled just 59 tackles, eight sacks, seven passes defended, and just one forced fumble. What upside would he have for any team that would consider trading for him?
Wilkerson dropped the ball big time over the past two years and has no one to blame but himself. You see, everything he’s done, or rather, everything he’s not done, has the Jets giving him a big contract extension ended up being a huge mistake.
The Jets rewarded him for everything he did up to that point but it looks like once he got his money, he became complacent by doing the bare minimum with often times not even achieving that much. Teams know that he would essentially have to work his way up the depth chart since he’s not even considered starting material anymore due to these lackluster stats. At the end of the day, stats play a big part in a team’s desire to acquire a player. Wilkerson simply holds no trade value just on this point alone.