The Jets saw defensive tackle Damon Harrison leave as a free agent before last season and they traded defensive end Sheldon Richardson last week in a pair of moves that leaves Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams as the top players on the defensive line.
Wilkerson is signed through the 2020 season after signing a long-term deal last year, but the team may be down to just Williams if Wilkerson isn’t more effective than he was last year.
The Jets have until the third day of the 2018 league year to avoid guaranteeing Wilkerson’s $16.74 million salary and Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that they are “fully prepared to cut” Wilkerson if he doesn’t regain his form. Per Mehta, Wilkerson didn’t win many fans inside the team for the way he blamed last year’s struggles on the way his comeback from a broken leg was handled or with an inconsistent effort level on the field.
There was also a first quarter benching after Wilkerson missed a practice before the team played the Ravens last season to add to the list of things that have reportedly created doubt about Wilkerson inside the organization. Most of those doubts should be quelled if Wilkerson raises his performance level in what’s shaping up to be a contract year for a player who signed one not too long ago.