ESPN In a long-anticipated move, the New York Jets released defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson on Wednesday, ending a seven-year run that turned bitter last season. The Jets had to cut Wilkerson before March 16 or else his $16.75 million salary for 2018 would have become fully guaranteed. Wilkerson, 28, was benched for the final three games of last season, ostensibly because he was late for a meeting on Dec. 15 — the fourth time since 2015 he was disciplined for tardiness.
In a move that everyone around the league knew was coming, the New York Jets released two time All Pro defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, after signing him to a five year contact worth $86 million with $53 million guaranteed and a $15 million dollar signing bonus in 2016. Muhammad Wilkerson was a great player for the Jets, but he constantly demanded to be paid like a superstar, and the second the Jets paid Wilkerson like a superstar he began to behave like a diva. Wilkerson was suspended for the first three games of the 2017 for violating team rules, it was announced that Wilkerson routinely showed up late to team meetings, and even skipped team meetings entirely. Wilkerson is a extremely talented player, and he will be a highly sought after free agent this offseason, but whichever team signs him must understand that his level of play has declined and that Wilkerson is capable of diva behavior which can be problematic in the locker room.
It’s funny, in 2016 the New York Jets had the best defensive line in football, with Damon Harrison, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams. Just two offseasons later, only Leonard Williams remains, and suddenly defensive line is a position of need for the New York Jets. Damon Harrison left as a free agent and is a star for the crosstown New York Giants, the Jets traded Sheldon Richardson to the Seahawks, and Muhammad Wilkerson was released.