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The Jets decided it was time for Mo to go.
Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was released by New York on Wednesday Womens Mitchell Trubisky Jersey , ending the one-time Pro Bowl selection’s stint with the team that drafted him in the first round in 2011.
The long-anticipated move clears $11 million in space under the salary cap, although there will still be a $9 million charge in dead money that will count against the cap. Wilkerson was due to make $16.75 million next season – which would have become fully guaranteed if he remained on New York’s roster by the third day of the league’s new year in March.
Coupled with running back Matt Forte’s retirement announcement earlier Wednesday, the Jets now have about $90 million in cap space.
”I’m disappointed for the team, I’m disappointed for him,” coach Todd Bowles told reporters at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. ”Obviously, it didn’t work out. I have a lot of love for Mo. I still think he’s got a lot of football ahead of him.”
But that won’t be in New York with the Jets.
It became increasingly clearer late in the season that the 28-year-old Wilkerson’s time with the Jets was coming to an end. He was benched at New Orleans on Dec. 17 for being late to a team meeting. Wilkerson then sat out the final two games for what Bowles called a ”coach’s decision.”
The $16.75 million was also fully guaranteed against a serious injury, so the Jets would have been on the hook if Wilkerson got hurt during a game or practice and the injury sidelined him all of next season.
”It was a business decision,” Bowles said about the move to release Wilkerson. ”It wasn’t disciplinary at all. It was good for both parties.”
Wilkerson was the Jets’ highest-paid player and was in the middle of a five-year deal worth $86 million. After vowing during training camp last summer that he would be more of a leader for the Jets, he was disciplined for tardiness twice this past season. He was also benched for one quarter of a game in each of the past two seasons.
”I think when you sign a player, you think of the potential he has and you try to help him fulfill that,” general manager Mike Maccagnan told reporters at the combine. ”When something doesn’t work out, you wish it would have, but it didn’t.”
The divorce caps what has been a stunning and disappointing fall from grace for Wilkerson Womens Allen Robinson Jersey , who was a homegrown kid from the Elizabeth and Linden areas of New Jersey and made it big after a terrific college career at Temple.
He was the 30th overall pick in 2011 and steadily became one of the NFL’s top young defensive ends. Wilkerson made his first Pro Bowl after the 2015 season, but didn’t play in it after breaking his right leg in the Jets’ regular-season finale.
Despite that, Wilkerson was rewarded by New York with the big contract. He returned in time to start in Week 1 in 2016, but was noticeably affected by lingering issues in his right ankle.
Wilkerson then got off to a slow start in 2017 while dealing with shoulder and toe injuries. The off-field issues became magnified with the decline in Wilkerson’s play and the one-time fan favorite was knocked by many fans and media for what was being perceived as a subpar work ethic.
He had just eight sacks in his last 28 games, dating to the start of the 2016 season, including 3 this past season – his lowest total since having three in his rookie season. That came after Wilkerson had a career-high 12 sacks in 2015.
Wilkerson expressed remorse for his actions in December, saying that he ”let the team down.” But he was also defiant when asked if he deserved the $37 million he made during the last two years.
”I feel like I’ve earned everything I’ve gotten,” he said. When asked why he felt that way, Wilkerson replied simply: ”Because I feel like I’ve earned it.”
For his career, Wilkerson has 44 1/2 sacks, one safety, 10 forced fumbles and 405 combined tackles.
The only question about Tom Brady as quarterback in New England is when Father Time finally wins before the five-time Super Bowl champ decides he's done with the NFL.
Same for Drew Brees in New Orleans or Philip Rivers with the Chargers.
Aaron Rodgers is expected back at his usual level returning from injury for Green Bay, and Deshaun Watson tantalized before his own injury cut short a very promising rookie season. Even though it's been a while since Andrew Luck threw a pass in an NFL game Womens Luke Kuechly Jersey , his resume gives him plenty of cushion as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
Not every quarterback has the same grip on a starting job as Brady, Brees or Rodgers, and a poor game or sloppy start can lead to a spot on the bench. Add a promising rookie into the mix, the leash can be even shorter.
Here's a look at some quarterbacks who need to play well to remain starters as training camps open around the league:
JAMEIS WINSTON, BUCCANEERS
Yes, Marcus Mariota must prove he can play all 16 games in a season, but the Tennessee Titans already have picked up Mariota's fifth-year option for 2019. Same for Tampa Bay for Jameis Winston, the quarterback taken a spot ahead of Mariota in 2015. Both are due $20.9 million in 2019 at what could be a bargain the way the market is booming for quarterbacks.
On the other hand, Winston will miss the first three games this season with the quarterback suspended for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy after a league investigation of an accusation that the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner groped a female Uber driver during a ride in Arizona in March 2016. That's not a great combination when Bucs coach Dirk Koetter's job security already is at risk after a 5-11 record last season. Tampa Bay brought back veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started three games in Winston's place last season, for an experienced backup.
JIMMY GAROPPOLO, 49ERS
Jimmy G could do no wrong for the 49ers last season, winning five straight games after finally moving into the starting lineup. San Francisco wasted little time signing the young quarterback to a five-year contract worth $137.5 million at an average of $27.5 million per season. The 49ers also re-signed receiver Marquise Goodwin to keep a top target around.
As good as Garoppolo looked Womens James Conner Jersey , there's now plenty of game tape of him running coach Kyle Shanahan's offense. Defensive coordinators, especially those in the NFC West, have had all offseason to figure out how to slow down Garoppolo.
TYROD TAYLOR, BROWNS
Helping the Bills stop a seemingly endless playoff drought wasn't enough to keep Taylor on the job in Buffalo. The Cleveland Browns traded for Taylor on the eve of free agency, and that's normally a sure sign a team is heavily invested in a player. Then the Browns went quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, selecting Baker Mayfield. Keeping Mayfield on the bench depends mostly on how long Taylor plays well.
JOE FLACCO, RAVENS
The 10-year veteran has missed a mere six games since being drafted by Baltimore in 2008, all in 2015, and led the Ravens to a Super Bowl in 2012. But the Ravens last reached the playoffs in 2014, and general manager Ozzie Newsome made sure to give himself options in his final year in charge. Not Robert Griffin III, who last started a game in 2016 with Cleveland.
Newsome traded to get the final pick of the first round in April to select Lamar Jackson . Yes, the Ravens insist they want to develop Jackson and be patient. If Flacco struggles, Jackson Authentic Jordan Reed Jersey , who threw 57 touchdown passes over the past two seasons in college at Louisville and won a Heisman Trophy, could start looking really good much sooner.
CASE KEENUM, BRONCOS
Coming off the bench and leading Minnesota to the NFC championship game is one thing. Playing quarterback under the watchful eye of Hall of Famer John Elway in Denver is quite a different challenge. Keenum comes in as the starter after the best season of his career . He'll need to pick up where he left off to stop the Broncos' quarterback carousel , with backup Paxton Lynch, the 26th pick overall in 2016, sitting on the bench and, thus far, showing little when he has played.
PATRICK MAHOMES II
With Alex Smith traded to Washington , all the pressure now is on Mahomes in Kansas City after he was the target of all those longing looks to the bench by fans during his rookie season. He looked good winning his first NFL start in last year's regular-season finale . That won't help with expectations remaining high for the Chiefs, who won the AFC West before blowing a wild-card game to the Titans at Arrowhead Stadium in the playoffs.
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