Muhammad Wilkerson was once a hell of a player. That’s in evidence by the fact that the New York Jets were paying him $20 million per season. Although the news came out last week that the Jets were cutting him, that apparently won’t be official until today.
And where will Wilkerson land? It could well be with the Green Bay Packers.
Despite announcing it last week, the #Jets haven’t officially released DE Muhammad Wilkerson yet. That should happen today… and I’m told his first free agent visit is likely to be with the #Packers. New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine could help rejuvenate his career.
Wilkerson played under current Packers’ defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in 2011 and 2012, when he was the Jets’ DC. Those were Wilkerson’s first two years in the league.
Wilkerson blossomed into a double-digit sack guy in 2013, when he had 10.5. He put up 12 sacks in 2015 and then apparently lost interest. Wilkerson’s past two seasons were mediocre, with 4.5 and 3.5 sacks.
That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s done though. There are plenty of rumors that Wilkerson just didn’t like playing for the Jets. While that’s somewhat of a red flag, he clearly liked playing for Pettine. And that’s what is bringing him to Green Bay.
Would we take Wilkerson?
A defensive line of Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark and Muhammad Wilkerson would likely be the best defensive line the Packers have fielded since guys like Reggie White, Sean Jones and Gilbert Brown were playing up front.
The question is can the Packers afford Wilkerson?
A guy who was making $20 million a season probably isn’t signing a one-year, $2 million deal. That’s the Ted Thompson special right there. The Packers are currently waiting around to pay Aaron Rodgers a ton of money. They have about $30 million tied up in three receivers, two of which don’t warrant their $10 million price tags. They have $11 million invested in Clay Matthews this year. They’ve got a $10 million cap hit coming courtesy of Nick Perry. Daniels is near another $10 million cap hit.
So, sure. We would love for the Packers to sign Wilkerson. He’s 28 and, under Pettine, likely has some good years left. But what is the salary? And if it’s substantial, then we’ll be looking for the other shoe to drop because the Packers aren’t flush with cap space.