The New York Jets used the franchise tag on star defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson this offseason, but they haven't been able to sign him to a long-term contract extension, leading to speculation that he could be traded.
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Maccagnan Discusses Wilkerson Rumors
Thursday, April 28
"I would not envision that happening," Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said of a possible trade, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
Maccagnan told reporters on April 22 the team is not "actively shopping" Wilkerson, per Dom Cosentino of NJ Advance Media. When asked about rescinding the defensive tackle's franchise tag, Maccagnan told reporters: "The simple answer is no. I don't view that as an option," per the team's official Twitter account.
Wilkerson 'Unlikely' to Be Traded
Wednesday, April 27
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the Jets "fielded calls" for Wilkerson, but he noted there was "little action." Rapoport added the Jets are "content to have a very good player."
Wilkerson Reportedly Wants to Play for 49ers
Friday, April 15
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reported Wilkerson would "love to play in San Francisco."
Jets' Demands for Wilkerson Reportedly Revealed
Wednesday, April 13
Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported that a prospective suitor for Wilkerson would have to part with a package that "includes a first-round pick (if not more)."
Bears Reportedly Out on Wilkerson
Wednesday, April 13
Wilkerson Reportedly on the Trade Block
Thursday, March 31
According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, "Despite [Maccagnan] saying they are not 'actively pursuing' a trade for Wilkerson, a source said Wednesday that the Jets are indeed shopping him around."
The Jets are likely to have a high price tag for Wilkerson, however, and Costello noted "there is skepticism around the league" that the Jets could get the collection of draft picks, including a first-rounder this year, that they are surely seeking.
Costello speculated the team could look for picks and a player, perhaps, and he noted a quarterback, such as Tampa Bay's Mike Glennon, could make sense for the team, considering Ryan Fitzpatrick remains unsigned and Geno Smith hasn't proven to be a reliable starter in his career.
The thought of Wilkerson lining up next to Gerald McCoy certainly is a frightening one.
Williams' Presence Would Lessen Blow of Wilkerson's Potential Departure
The other caveat will be whether any prospective trade partner will be willing to pay the large contract Wilkerson, 26, is seeking, which includes upward of $40 million in guarantees, per Mehta.
Mehta noted that Wilkerson wants out of New York:
Wilkerson and his agent are in full-fledged get-me-the-heck-out-of-here mode not because the player doesn’t enjoy playing for the team that drafted him. The bottom-line truth right now is that Wilkerson has come to realization that the Jets aren’t going to pay him what he believes he’s worth, so he’s ready to move on to an organization willing to pony up the cash. You can’t blame him. If I were in his position, I’d want out, too.
The Jets purported unwillingness to pay Wilkerson surely doesn't come from a lack of production. He registered 64 tackles, 12 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2015, his second season with 10 or more sacks. Without question, he's an impact player on the defensive line.
But the Jets have another superstar at the position in Sheldon Richardson, 25, while they used their 2015 first-round pick on Leonard Williams, who had a strong rookie season. Wilkerson may be a star, but given the presence of Richardson and Williams, he's also expendable and without question is the team's top trade chip.
In other words, it seems the Jets and Wilkerson are headed for an inevitable divorce.
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