Brian Costello of the New York Post reports that even though Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has said they are not “actively pursuing” a trade involving DE Muhammad Wilkerson, the team is, in fact, indeed shopping him around the league.
According to Costello, if the Jets are able to find a deal for Wilkerson, it’s likely that it will be in the days leading up to this year’s draft.
However, people around the league appear to be skeptical that the Jets will ultimately be able to find a taker for Wilkerson, considering that it will require both draft picks and a long-term contract that will include a massive amount of money.
Interestingly enough, Costello doesn’t rule out the Jets considering a trade that for another to lower the draft-pick compensation involved in a potential deal. One option proposed by Costello is Buccaneers backup QB Mike Glennon, given that they’re still reportedly far apart in contract talks with free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Costello has spoken to people around the league who think the Jets could once again use their franchise tag on Wilkerson again in 2017 if they can’t move him in the coming weeks/months.
It’s worth mentioning that Rich Cimini of ESPN recently spoke with officials from four different teams at the owners meetings about the idea of the Jets trading Wilkerson and one official described the chances of a deal happening as: “Next to impossible.”
Wilkerson, 26, is a former first-round pick of the Jets back in 2011. He played out his rookie contract with the team and was in line to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason before the Jets used their franchise tag on him.
The franchise tag will run the Jets $15.701 million fully guaranteed for the 2016 season, but won’t prevent them from negotiating a long-term deal that would reduce this figure and offer them some additional cap space.
In 2015, Wilkerson recorded 59 tackles, 12 sacks, two forced fumbles and six pass defenses over the course of 15 games. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 5 defensive end in a 3-4 system out of 57 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding Wilkerson and his future with the Jets as the news is available.