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J.J. Watt Gets Paid, Wilkerson In Line For Big Pay Day

The bar has been set and the Jets will have to show the money to teams best player.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans signed a contract extension late Monday evening, the new 6 year contract will pay him on average $16 million a year, and a guaranteed $30.87 million which will rise to $51.876 million by the time the contract runs down. With the contract reportedly worth $100 million in total, it makes Watt the highest paid defensive player in NFL history. If rumours are to be believed, J.J. didn't head out to celebrate his new deal, instead he hit the weight room at 4:00am in the morning to get in a work-out, now that is a man you want to hand a big cheque too.

It's one hell of a lot of money, however in just three years in the NFL, Watt has bagged himself 35.5 sacks, 217 tackles, 8 forced fumbles, 6 fumble recoveries and a whopping 27 pass defenses. To put it lightly, he is a game changer who can take over and dominate a game. A man who's dedicated to his craft and committed to improving at every single opportunity.

J.J. Watt was a product of the 2011 draft class, the first draft under the new collective bargaining agreement, that reduced income for first round prospects and gave the team a guaranteed 5 year contract. Another member of that draft class was of course Muhammad Wilkerson, the Jets first round selection and arguably the franchises finest player. The Jets exercised the team option for 2015, meaning we have at least two more years of Mo, and if we wanted to use the franchise tag, three years. However we need to pay him and pay him big.

Throughout the off-season Wilkerson has handled his contract with class. Holding out? not a chance, Mo was there on day one. Asked if he wants it or needs that contract extension, he'll reply that if it gets done, it gets done, he's concentrating on the football and he'll let the agents handle the contract. This is the kind of player that teams love to deal with. He knows he'll get paid and he knows the Jets won't want to let him go, however he needs to continue to improve to ensure he gets the money he deserves.

Through his first few years with the Jets, Wilkerson has the following stat line. 181 tackles, 18.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 9 pass defenses. However his contribution goes beyond the numbers, his work in the run game is always 100%, he takes up blockers to allow his team-mates to make the plays, he leads by example and is a vocal leader on the field. He is without doubt one of the finest defensive players in the NFL and it's only a matter of time before the Jets reward him for his play.

Now J.J. Watt is a tremendous player, a player who can do it all and puts fear into offensive lines. Wilkerson is very much a similar player however he doesn't quite have the production of Watt so his contract likely won't be quite as lucrative. However he should be looking at a 5-6 year deal, averaging around $12-13 million a year and guaranteed money between the $30-$40 million mark.  J.J's deal has set a bench mark for the Jets to work on and with the franchise currently having around $21 million in salary cap space, it may make sense to do the deal sooner rather than later. Take advantage of the space to front load the deal.

All I know is that Muhammad Wilkerson has got progressively better year on year, and with the improvement of the defensive line in general and the emergence of Sheldon Richardson on the other side, teams won't be able to solely focus on him like they have been able to do in the last couple of years. The 10.5 sacks he recorded in 2013 may just be the beginning.

Mo is being patient and we need to as well, the Jets will pay the man!