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How Eagles Signing Fletcher Cox Effects Jets’ Situation With Muhammad Wilkerson

Muhammad Wilkerson (William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports)

Muhammad Wilkerson (William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports)

 

Big news came out of Philadelphia on Tuesday when the Eagles signed defensive tackle, Fletcher Cox to a six-year contract worth $103 million and $63 million guaranteed. This contract has a major effect on the Jets, more specifically on Muhammad Wilkerson.

If there was any skepticism about Wilkerson’s future with the Jets, there should not be anymore because he clearly has not long-term future with the franchise.

Before the Fletcher Cox contract, there was a glimmer of hope for a long-term deal. But the market for elite defensive lineman just skyrocketed. And it doesn’t seem like the Jets are willing to meet his asking price which will certainly be higher than Cox’s because Wilkerson is better.

In recent years, the Jets have been reluctant to give Wilkerson a long-term extension which is coming back to haunt them now. They had the chance to lock up their best defensive player for a reasonable price. But now? Forget about it.

It’s an unfortunate situation that the Jets have found themselves in because Wilkerson is everything you want in a franchise defensive player. He’s obviously very talented on the field, he is still in his prime as he is only 26 years old, he does not get into trouble off the field, and he is home grown. He is someone to build your defense around.

So now where can Wilkerson go from here? Well first of all, there is no chance that he reports to this week’s minicamp. But the big concern is training camp which starts on July 27. And the league deadline for a contract is twelve days prior on July 15. So if a deal is not reached by the 15th, which is a longshot, Wilkerson could hold out of training camp beginning on the 27th. By holding out, Wilkerson could try to force the Jets to make a no-tag agreement for this year. Or maybe he will just demand a trade.

The situation between Wilkerson and the Jets right now is not good at all for the long term. But odds are, Wilkerson will play for the $15.7 million tender this year. Next year, the team can tag him again or let him walk as a free agent, receiving a third-round compensatory pick in 2018.

If I had to make a prediction for the future of Wilkerson, I would say that he will play this season with the Jets, and then leave as a free agent after the season. Regardless of how things end between the Jets and Wilkerson, it has been so much fun to watch a great defensive lineman suit up for the Jets every Sunday for the past few years.

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