Muhammad Wilkerson is one of the best defensive linemen in football. This past season, he had 64 tackles, 12.0 sacks, forced two fumbles and defended seven passes. In short, he was a monster.
He’s also, as of March 9, a free agent.
Is there any chance the Jets allow him to hit the market?
“I think he’ll be franchised,” NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly told Damon Amendolara, who was filling in as host of CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “But the Jets are in a unique position because that’s a big number on a one-year contract. They’ve got Sheldon Richardson, they drafted Leonard Williams, they’ve got Damon Harrison, who’s a free agent – they’ve got some other players. So the big number on Wilkerson could cause them to lose maybe some other players that could hurt the team. We know how good Wilkerson is, but you’ve got some other defensive linemen there and you certainly could play well on the defensive line with them.”
The Jets could also try to trade Wilkerson, 26, for draft picks, including a first-rounder that could strengthen the team at other positions.
“The problem with that theory,” Casserly said, “is there’s a lot of good interior defensive linemen in this draft, and I’m not sure a team would want to pay Wilkerson a lot of money and give up the first-round pick when they could get a good player too.”
Casserly, who last year helped the Jets hire a new head coach, heard that Wilkerson wants J.J. Watt money. Watt signed a six-year, $100-million contract before the 2014 season.
Wilkerson is good. In fact, he’s great. But he’s not Watt.
Said Casserly, “He’s not going to get J.J. Watt money from anybody.”