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Jets release Muhammad Wilkerson

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Atlanta Falcons v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The Jets have released defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson.

The move was widely expected after a pair of ugly seasons for Wilkerson where he underachieved on the field and was benched multiple times for being late to meetings. Wilkerson signed a 5 year, $86 million contract in 2016 which turned into one of the worst value deals in recent memory. The $20 million cap hit he was set to carry in 2018 was a nonstarter. Even half that amount would not have made sense given the decline in his play.

The cut saves the Jets $11 million in salary cap space, but they are left with $9 million in dead money. That is an awful lot of cap space to dedicate to have a guy play somewhere else, but the team had little choice.

Wilkerson’s tenure with the Jets was essentially two acts. The first act took place over the five years of his rookie deal, and was excellent. Wilkerson was always good and performed like a star for long stretches, registering a pair of Second Team All Pro selections. The second act was brutal. Wilkerson became the posterboy for mailing it in after receiving a big payday. He turned into a nonfactor on the field and a problem in the locker room.