Muhammad Wilkerson has agreed to a new five year contract with the Jets that will end his standoff and keep the star defensive lineman in green and white for the forseeable future. Who comes out ahead, and who comes out behind? This is how things look at this current moment.
Muhammad Wilkerson: This one is obvious. The defensive lineman has been looking for a deal to give him financial security for at least two years. He finally has it. We still do not know the specifics of the deal, but details are leaking out. The latest from Albert Breer indicates a signing bonus in excess of $36 million.
Mo Wilkerson's 5-year, $86M deal has $36.75M fully guar at signing. That + $250K workout bonus = $37M in '16/'17. March '18 = decision time.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 15, 2016
Wilkerson was guaranteed around $15 million by the franchise tag. This new deal seems to guarantee him at least $20 million more. It's a good day when you increase your bank account balance by $20 million with the stroke of a pen.
Jets Fans: I think it would be fair to say Wilkerson's contract status has been a source of significant anxiety for a good chunk of the fan base. Would this be another case where the Jets could not come to a contract agreement with a star player? The answer is no. Jets fans can now have peace of mind that a homegrown star is sticking around.
Mike Garofolo/Adam Schefter: He isn't the biggest media name in Jets circles. He isn't the most connected. He was one of the few who correctly saw the potential for the Jets and Wilkerson to strike a deal when most had written off the possibility. Schefter was one of the few who was in the loop enough today to alert people there was movement.
Chad Wiestling: I doubt many people care about the inner workings of the agent game in the NFL, but this is a big score for Wilkerson's agent. He gets a lot of money as part of his cut, but he also showed he has the chops to negotiate a big contract. This has to help him recruiting potential star clients for his services.
Todd Bowles: The head coach has a potential headache out of the way. Wilkerson's status could have been a training camp distraction whether or not he showed. If Wilkerson held out, the head coach would have had to wonder how ready he would be for Week 1 with Sheldon Richardson already suspended.
Breno Giamcomini/Nick Folk/Brian Winters/Kenbrell Thompkins (Maybe?): We still don't know the exact dollar figures of the deal, but there seems to be a strong possibility of Wilkerson's 2016 cap number going down if early reports on the signing bonus are accurate. If the Jets do eventually re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick, this signing might create the cap space to prevent some of these guys from being cut to make room.
The rest of the AFC East: They might have thought they didn't have to worry about Wilkerson after this year. They do.
Jets fans who want a lot of information about the team: The topic of leaks coming from the Jets has been a popular one in recent years. I would argue it has been misunderstood. When it comes to leaks, what you don't want is people undermining others in the organization. You don't want people airing dirty laundry as anonymous sources or bashing others. Somebody reporting genuine news isn't really a leak. As it relates to today, though, it was amazing news this big broke from a team social media account. Some reporters like Garofolo and Schefter reported movement, but nobody was able to get a scoop on the actual contract. Many of the local writers covering the team had written off the possibility. When this many writers miss out, it is not because they had done a bad job. It is because the team kept an incredibly tight lid on the story. This might be good or bad for the team. It might not matter. If you want constant information about the Jets, this wasn't the story for you.
Jury Still Out
Sheldon Richardson: It's tough to say whether this is good news or bad news for the next star defensive lineman who will seek a big contract. On the one hand, it can't be bad to see a comparable player get a contract this big to set the market. On the other hand, Richardson would have much more leverage dealing with the Jets, and the Jets would have much less leverage dealing with him if Wilkerson was out of the picture. What does this deal say about Richardson's future with the Jets? We don't know. Frankly, the Jets might not even know.
Mike Maccagnan: Maccagnan will get a lot of deserved praise for locking up a star player. Today is a good day for Maccagnan. In the big picture, this will likely go down as one of his most important moves with the Jets. He made a big commitment of resources to one of his best players. He used up a lot of his puzzle pieces. Will this ultimately be an effective use of his resources? We can't say for sure until we see the big picture begin to develop.