In a move that has been widely expected, the Jets put their franchise tag on defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson ahead of Tuesday's deadline.
Jets have officially tagged Muhammad Wilkerson.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 29, 2016
The franchise tag the Jets applied to Muhammad Wilkerson is non-exclusive. Price tag: $15.7 million.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 29, 2016
Wilkerson now has a one year contract from the Jets worth $15.7 million. While other teams could theoretically make him an offer, this move effectively takes him off the free agent market. Any team that wanted to sign Wilkerson would have to both offer him a deal so big that the Jets would not match it and part with two first round picks. That will not happen.
From the Jets' standpoint, this was a no-brainer. They could not let arguably the best player on the team walk away for no compensation. The question now is what the team will do from here. Will they have him play 2016 out under the large tag number. Will they lock him up long-term? Will they trade him?
If I had a guess, I would surmise the most likely scenario would be Wilkerson playing under the tag in 2016 and a trade being the least likely. That is a pure guess, though.