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NY Jets: Wilkerson Cuts Off Negotiations

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Uh oh. This can't be good.

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

According to multiple sources Muhammad Wilkerson has made good on his threat not to negotiate past the beginning of the regular season and has cut off contract talks with the Jets.

The two sides are reportedly far apart in their perceived value of Wilkerson.  Mo now will wait until the season ends and see how the process plays out from there.

The Jets are currently squeezed for salary cap space in 2016, with virtually zero space left after accounting for the 2016 draft class, practice squad, some minimum type deals to fill out the 53 man roster, and a bit of cushion for in season moves.  There are of course multiple options for cuts and/or restructured contracts which could create more space.

Should the two sides be unable to come to an agreement next year, it is likely, though far from certain, that the Jets will put the franchise tag on Wilkerson.  If that happens Wilkerson will cost the Jets approximately $15 million in 2016 cap space, a hefty chunk of cap for a team in a cap squeeze.  There is also the possibility the Jets may seek to trade Wilkerson, particularly once Sheldon Richardson's situation gets more clarity.  The Jets also might simply walk away and get a compensatory 3rd round pick for Wilkerson, although this seems unlikely.

Whatever happens from here, if information is power in negotiations, the one small silver lining from Mo walking away from the table today might be the information that conveys to the Jets.  Namely, that Mo is something of a straight shooter, means what he says, and does not make idle threats in negotiations.  This information has some value for the Jets.  It might give them some clarity as far as just how much wiggle room is involved in Mo's stated contract demands.  If they think that Mo means what he says as far as his demands are concerned and it will take a deal close to Mo's demands to get his signature on the table, this information is valuable.  The Jets then can make a more accurate determination of the likelihood a deal eventually gets done, and move on accordingly from there. Even if it means that there is little likelihood of an eventual deal (pure speculation on my part, just a hypothetical possibility), knowing this now rather than later might help the Jets in their planning for the 2016 roster and beyond.  It is a small consolation, but something good may have come out of the current impasse.