Rich Cimini of ESPN spoke with officials from four different teams at the owners meetings last week about the idea of the Jets trading DE Muhammad Wilkerson now that they’ve used their franchise tag on him.
One official described the chances of a deal happening as: “Next to impossible.”
This is due to the fact that not only would a team have to part with draft compensation for Wilkerson, but they would also need to lock him up to a long-term extension that will likely include over $50 million guaranteed.
Another factor to consider is that once a deal is struck with the Jets, all leverage would shift to Wilkerson in terms of contract talks, given that the team would have already parted with draft compensation to get him.
The best move would be to get a long-term deal done in advance of a trade, but it doesn’t change the overall cost of making such a move.
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.