As the Jets 2015 playoff hopes were dashed by Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills, Muhammad Wilkerson was in agony on the turf having suffered a broken leg. Despite this, the Jets still inked Mo to a 5 year $86 million contract.
As of today, that looks like a horrible investment.
Not only is Wilkerson not the best defensive lineman in the league or conference, he's not even the best defensive lineman on his own team. Earlier this year we learned that Wilkerson had been late to team meetings and missed a walk-through, all while putting up a career worst year.
Wilkerson has recorded just 35 tackles and 2.5 sacks...hardly the production of an $86 million man. Is he getting a little more attention than usual? Possibly, but not likely with Richardson and Leonard Williams on the line.
Is he healthy? Now that's the question that needs answering. All year we've heard head coach Todd Bowles say that Wilkerson was very sore. Today we learnt that despite full participation in practice on Thursday and Friday, Wilkerson will be questionable for the game tomorrow night after he reaggravated an ankle injury that has seemingly bothered him all year.
If you watch Wilkerson closely, he doesn't get off the snap as quickly as he did last year and he seems reluctant to really plant his leg and drive. It's clear that he's not 100% healthy, and I'm not one for making excuses for anyone...but less than a year removed from a serious leg injury, maybe it's time the Jets shut him down with 2017 in mind.
Todd Bowles has shown a reluctance to prepare for 2017 and play the long game, likely because he's fearful that he won't be here to oversee it. However Wilkerson has been banged up all year and I know a lot of players carry injuries through the dark days of the season. But with the year lost, maybe it's time to give him a head start on getting back to 100% ahead of the 2017 season opening up. It seems obvious that he rushed back and he's feeling the consequences of surgery on his broken leg.
Right now, I feel as though we're going through the motions. Just getting him healthy enough to trot out there. Some will say that he's lost motivation now he's got the lucrative contract he's been looking for, and maybe that's true. However the Mo I see out there isn't the same guy I saw through the 2015 season.
Over the last 9 games, he has 1 sack and he hasn't managed to force a fumble all year. We wouldn't be losing much by sitting him and if there is a chance that we can get him back to 100% ahead of the 2017 season, personally I feel we should take it.