The New York Jets have decided to release defensive end Muhammed Wilkerson, just two years into his $86 million five-year contract. Wilkerson racked up 44.5 sacks during his time with the Jets, which included 28.5 between 2013 – 2015; however, two disappointing seasons later, Gang Green have decided to cut their losses.
Back in 2011, Muhammad Wilkerson was one of the hottest prospects on the circuit. Having impressed with college team the Temple Owls, Wilkerson was drafted by the New York Jets in the first round with the 30th overall selection of the 2011 draft, signing a four-year contract worth an estimated $7.4 million. Wilkerson’s rapid improvement over the next few seasons led to him being handed a lucrative $85m deal in 2016, after recording 12 sacks over the course of the previous season.
The 2016 contract was the beginning of the end for the New Jersey native, as the fierce defensive line of Wilkerson, Harrison, and Richardson began to dissolve, when Damon Harrison joined the New York Giants as a free agent, and Sheldon Richardson was traded to he Seattle Seahawks. With two of the three ‘Sons of Anarchy’ departing from the Jets, Wilkerson’s form nosedived, leading to rumours that he could be leaving the franchise in the near future. There were also plenty of off-field issues, with Wilkerson failing to turn up for team meetings in the middle of a disappointing 2016 season. It seems the rumours have now become a reality.
Wilkerson’s departure allows the Jets to free up an $11 million salary space, and head coach Todd Bowles has confirmed that the decision was made purely for financial reasons.
“Mo was a business decision, ” said Bowles .
“It wasn’t disciplinary at all. It was a business decision that we made that was good for both parties, and we made that decision.
“I’m disappointed for the team. I’m disappointed for him. Obviously it didn’t work out, but I have a lot of love for Mo. I still think he’s got some football ahead of him and he’s got some good football ahead of him. I just wish him the best.”