Muhammad Wilkerson confirmed that he will be joining the Green Bay Packers with a great tweet.
Wilkerson, who doesn’t tweet very often, sent this message on Tuesday night:
Indeed, Wilkerson paired with Mike Daniels on the Packers’ defensive line will be quite a tandem. And you have to love all the blocks of cheese emojis, because you know the cheeseheads will love watching Wilkerson and Daniels wreck opposing teams.
Wilkerson had several issues with the Jets and displayed some unprofessional behavior towards the end of his tenure with the team. But he’s only 28 and perhaps a change of scenery will be what he needs to get back to his top form. Reuniting with former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine could be a positive for him as well.
Free agent Muhammad Wilkerson is set to make his first visit and will do so with the Green Bay Packers.
On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein reported that Wilkerson had chosen to visit with the Packers before any other team.
On Wednesday, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport said that Wilkerson had arrived in Green Bay and was set to visit with the team’s coaches before having his official visit on Thursday.
Wilkerson was a problematic player for the New York Jets. He regularly showed up late to team meetings and also did not keep himself in great shape. Apparently the Packers feel desperate enough for an upgrade on their defensive line that they are willing to overlook these issues.
Muhammad Wilkerson signed a five-year, $86 million extension with the New York Jets in 2015. To say the defensive end has not lived up to it would be an understatement, but he doesn’t see it that way.
While speaking with reporters on Wednesday for the first time since he was not permitted to travel with the team to New Orleans, Wilkerson defended the $37 million he has made over the past two seasons.
“I feel like I’ve earned everything I’ve gotten,” he said, per Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News.
When asked to elaborate, Wilkerson didn’t feel the need to go into detail.
“Because I feel like I’ve earned it,” he added.
Wilkerson signed his new deal coming off a 12-sack season. In the 28 games since, he has recorded just eight sacks. Making matters worse is that he has been benched numerous times for being tardy to meetings or missing them altogether. Despite that, Wilkerson feels he has been a leader for the Jets.
“I feel like I’m a leader because of the things I’ve done, you know, helping, you know, build this organization,” he said.
While Wilkerson has practiced in full this week, there’s a chance the Jets could make him inactive for the final two games of the season. The 28-year-old’s $16.75 million salary for 2018 is fully guaranteed only for injury, and New York could save $9 million against the cap by releasing him this offseason.
Jets head coach Todd Bowles said there was “nothing personal” about Wilkerson being benched in Week 15, but it seems obvious that the former first-round pick has worn out his welcome. Wilkerson met with some teammates on Monday to address his benching, and he didn’t mention anything about apologizing.
“If they respect me, they respect me,” he said. “If they don’t, they don’t. I understand, and I just got to move forward.”
All signs point to Wilkerson and the Jets going their separate ways this offseason, and you might be surprised to learn who they are interested in bringing back to help replace him.
The New York Jets are almost certainly planning to part ways with defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson this offseason, and they are reportedly eyeing a very familiar face to help replace the former first-round pick.
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News is reporting that the Jets are interested in bringing back defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this winter. Despite some of the issues the Jets had with Richardson in the past, sources told Mehta the interest is mutual and Richardson would “love” to return to New York.
The Jets traded Richardson to the Seattle Seahawks before the season, and they got wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and a second-round pick in return. Kearse has been surprisingly productive this season, catching 55 passes for 709 yards and five touchdowns, which are all career-highs.
Richardson is coming off a down season in Seattle, but he is just 27 and will be one of the top players on the free agent market. However, the Jets are expected to have as much as $80 million in salary cap space this offseason, and they would basically have gotten a free receiver and second-round pick for renting out Richardson for one season.
Richardson and Wilkerson have been lumped together in years past as two players who lack dedication to the team, but Jets head coach Todd Bowles apparently would still feel comfortable with having Richardson be a veteran leader in his locker room. Most of the issues Richardson had in 2016 centered on his feud with Brandon Marshall, who is no longer with the team.
Wilkerson was not permitted to travel with the Jets to New Orleans last week after he violated team rules, and it would not be a surprise if he is inactive for the final two games of the season. His $16.75 million base salary for 2018 is guaranteed only for injury, and the Jets can save all of that money if they cut him before the third day of the new league year in March.
The end may be near for Muhammad Wilkerson with the New York Jets.
On Friday, Jets head coach Todd Bowles announced that Wilkerson will not travel with the team to New Orleans this weekend. The star defensive end is not dealing with an injury, however.
Reports have indicated that Wilkerson showed up late to the Jets’ facility on Friday and could be suspended for more than one game:
A recent report claimed Wilkerson has shown up late to or missed multiple meetings this season. Linebacker Darron Lee, a 2016 first-round pick, was a healthy scratch from New York’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this month, and it was later revealed that he showed up late to a practice.
Wilkerson and former Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson supposedly missed numerous team meetings last year, and Richardson was traded to the Seattle Seahawks before the start of the season. Wilkerson signed a five-year, $86 million extension with the Jets when he was coming off a 12-sack season in 2015. Since then, he has looked like a shell of himself and had some unflattering things written about him by the local media. With Wilkerson’s $16.75 million salary for 2018 not becoming fully guaranteed until the third day of the official league year in March, you have to wonder if the Jets are thinking about moving on.
Muhammad Wilkerson was benched by the New York Jets for the first quarter of the team’s win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday as punishment for showing up late to a team meeting the day prior. Apparently that has been a common occurrence in 2017.
According to Connor Hughes of NJ.com, Wilkerson has shown up late to numerous team meetings this season. There have also been some that he has missed altogether.
Jets head coach Todd Bowles issues fines when players are late to team meetings, and he benches players when it happens multiple times. There is no set number of meetings a player can be tardy to before he is benched, but Wilkerson has reportedly been late to or missed five morning meetings since the preseason.
Linebacker Darron Lee, a 2016 first-round pick, was a surprise inactive for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, and Hughes notes that he was being disciplined for showing up late to Saturday’s practice.
This isn’t the first time we have heard rumblings about Wilkerson missing meetings. He and former Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson supposedly missed numerous team meetings, and Richardson was traded to the Seattle Seahawks before the start of the season. Bowles said Monday that he still views Wilkerson as a “leader” for the Jets.
“It’s part of the game,” Bowles said. “No different than raising your kids. They’re going to do some things, and you’re going to be pissed off. But they’re still your kids. You’ll still love them up the next day, and keep moving.
“You earn trust. (Wilkerson and Lee) earned a lot of trust. You make mistakes. You lose trust. You have to earn it back.”
Wilkerson signed a five-year, $86 million extension with the Jets when he was coming off a 12-sack season in 2015. Since then, he has just seven sacks in 27 games and has had some unflattering things written about him by the local media. With Wilkerson’s $16.75 million salary for 2018 not becoming fully guaranteed until the third day of the official league year in March, you have to wonder if the Jets are thinking about moving on.
If you’re going to win games in the NFL, you need to have playmakers. These are the guys who can turn a game around with a big play and lift the team when they need it most.
What makes a playmaker? It can be anything, really. A quarterback who can make the pinpoint throw under pressure; the running back who can burst through a hole for a huge play; the wide receiver who can make the spectacular catch for that big touchdown. They don’t even need to be offensive — defenders who have that ability to get a big pick or blow up a play in the backfield qualify too.
Here’s a look at the best playmaker on each NFL team.
Arizona Cardinals — David Johnson, RB
Few players in the league are as skilled or versatile as Arizona’s third-year running back. Johnson truly took over the role in 2016, rushing for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was no slouch through the air, either, with five catches per game. In total, no player had more yards from scrimmage than Johnson. Even bigger numbers may be in store in 2017.
Atlanta Falcons — Julio Jones, WR
Quarterback Matt Ryan has an argument here for the first time in his career, but for the Falcons, it’s still all about Jones, who is one of the premier receivers the league has to offer. While his 2016 didn’t quite match his lofty 2015 numbers, Jones still racked up over 1,400 yards. He averaged over 100 yards receiving per game for the fourth consecutive season, which is no small feat. Want big plays? The star receiver averaged 17 yards per catch for the NFC champions. And now the team wants him to get more touchdowns.
NFL contracts are often a hot-button issue. People love to debate who’s making too much, too little, who deserves more and who is overpaid. Some athletes outplay their deals, while others cash in and fail to deliver. Teams obviously try hard to avoid the latter situation, but sometimes things don’t work out as hoped.
With all of that in mind, here’s a look at the worst contract on every NFL team.
Arizona Cardinals – Jermaine Gresham, tight end
The Cardinals put an emphasis on re-signing tight end Jermaine Gresham and as a result, may have drastically over-paid for him. He hasn’t had over 460 yards receiving since 2012, has seen his catch rate hover around 60% in each of the previous two seasons and hasn’t scored more than two touchdowns since 2014. Those are mediocre numbers at best for a player signed to a four-year, $28 million contract with $16.5 million guaranteed.
Atlanta Falcons – Brooks Reed, defensive end
Brooks Reed is not exactly a bad player — he’s a high-motor guy who plays a very defined role. Of course, when the Falcons signed him to a five-year, $22 million deal in 2015 they expected much more. Instead, what they’ve gotten for $9 million guaranteed is 42 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble in 28 games.
Baltimore Ravens – Joe Flacco, quarterback
When the Ravens signed Joe Flacco to a monstrous $120.6 million deal in 2013, many foresaw potential issues looming. However, at the time, Flacco was coming off of a magical postseason run that culminated with a Super Bowl XLVII victory. He had earned his money. But in 2016, facing a massive cap number, Baltimore was forced to extend Flacco with a three-year, $66.4 million deal. Now under contract through 2021, Flacco has cap hits above $24 million beginning next year and throughout the remainder of his deal, large dead cap numbers that render him uncuttable and guarantees that make him untradeable. Arguably, it’s the worst contract in the NFL.
Look out, Broadway Joe: There’s a new guarantee man in the Jets’ house.
New York Jets defensive end Mo Wilkerson said on Tuesday that he guarantees his team will win more than the 5 games they won last year.
Though guaranteeing you’ll win more than five games isn’t saying a whole lot, it’s important to have that kind of optimism entering a season. The Jets were a 10-win team two seasons ago, so they probably feel they have enough talent around to win.
However, Brandon Marshall is gone, Ryan Fitzpatrick is gone, Darrelle Revis is gone, and the team is trying to trade a few more veteran defensive players. They also don’t have much of a quarterback. Don’t be surprised if the team can’t even make good on Wilkerson’s promise.
The New York Jets put their trust into defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson last summer when they signed him to a five-year contract extension, and team officials have to be concerned that they made a horrible mistake.
Wilkerson played last season on a surgically-repaired ankle that gave him some trouble. It didn’t help that he was frequently late to meetings and benched for the first quarter of a game because of it. According to scouts who spoke with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, things have only gotten worse for Wilkerson since the season ended.
Wilkerson attended Temple’s Pro Day last week, and scouts told Mehta they were shocked by how out of shape he appeared to be. One scout compared Wilkerson to the Goodyear blimp and said he looked “sloppy,” while another said he looked “like a pedestrian with a huge gut.”
More than 40 NFL talent evaluators were on hand for Temple’s Pro Day. Wilkerson didn’t make a favorable impression on any of the people that I touched base with over the past week.
One eyewitness simply said Wilkerson was “looking absolutely terrible.” When I pointed out that the defensive lineman has never been mistaken for Jack LaLanne, the person texted: “LOL He’s always looked terribly out of shape?”
Wilkerson is a very big guy. His playing weight is 315 pounds, so he’s never going to look like a pass-rusher or outside linebacker. Still, you would think 40 scouts know the difference between an NFL defensive tackle and a fat guy. It sounds like the latter description fits Wilkerson more accurately at the moment.
Wilkerson will count a team-high $18 million toward the salary cap in 2017. He signed a five-year, $86 million deal last year after being franchise tagged, so the Jets clearly felt he was someone they could build around. Wilkerson’s 4.5 sacks in 2016 were the lowest of his career since he was a rookie in 2011. Toward the end of the season, he publicly criticized New York’s training staff for not adequately taking care of his ankle.
When you hear reports like this one about Wilkerson’s lack of commitment to the team, you have to wonder if the Jets regret giving the former first-round pick an extension. With the way the team looks heading into 2017, motivating Wilkerson to get back into shape may prove to be an impossible task.