Last night, the Jets surprisingly came away from round one with USC DL Leonard Williams, even though defensive line is clearly one of team’s areas of strengths.
Jets GM Mike Maccagnan told reporters after making the pick that he was “kind of surprised” that Williams fell to the Jets. However, Ian Rapoport reports that Williams is believed to have a shoulder issue that “might slow [his] development a bit.”
Shortly after the pick was made, speculation began circulating that the Jets could now field trade offers for DE Muhammad Wilkerson, as previous reports have said that they had been contacted by teams about his availability.
Rich Cimini of ESPN, citing a league source, reports that the Jets are expected to listen to offers for Wilkerson.
Maccagnan tried to down play the idea that they could field offers for one of their best players, but his choice of words will do little to quell speculation of a potential trade.
“Right now, Muhammad is on our team,” Maccagnan said last night. “We’re not going to speculate. We’re not going to actively shop Muhammad at this point. Right now, he’s a part of us.”
According to Jason La Canfora, it would most likely take a “king’s ransom” for the Jets to trade Wilkerson this weekend. However, La Canfora has heard that it would take multiple first-round picks for the Jets to consider parting with him.
La Canfora specifically mentions that teams like the Browns and Raiders, who have plenty of money to spend, are believed to be monitoring the situation.
Wilkerson, 25, is already among the best defensive linemen in the NFL and has clearly earned for a big raise.
The Jets will still have their franchise tag at their disposal in 2016 in case negotiations don’t go anywhere over the next year.
According to OverTheCap.com, trading Wilkerson would free up $6,969,000 in available cap space while creating no dead money.
In 2014, Wilkerson appeared in 13 games and recorded 56 tackles, six sacks, one forced fumble and and five pass defenses. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 3 defensive end in a 3-4 system.