Should the New York Jets trade Muhammad Wilkerson?
The New York Jets just hit Muhammad Wilkerson with the franchise tag and should trade him to help address other areas of need across the team.
At just 26 years old and coming off the best season of his young career, Wilkerson still has his best football ahead of him. The Jets knew he wouldn't last in free agency and made the right decision in franchise tagging him to at least keep him around for next season.
What happens over the next few months will be crucial on what kind of expectations the Jets will have for 2016. Wilkerson was an important piece on defense but the Jets are stacked on their defensive line and secondary that they would be okay without him.
Linebacker however, is a main weakness on the Jets' defense. Their offensive line did good last year but is also in need of youth and upgrades to develop now for the future. Even though Wilkerson is coming off a broken leg injury last season, he shouldn't miss a beat and pickup exactly where he left off from.
The Jets have until July 15th to get a long-term deal in place, otherwise, Wilkerson is as good as gone after next season and the Jets wouldn't get any compensation at all. That's why the time is now to decide once and for all whether they should stick with him or consider trading him for draft picks and/or players that would immediately upgrade the team.
At the end of the day, it's all about the team above the individual. While it would be unfortunate to ever see Wilkerson wearing another uniform, to benefit the team would mean to trade him now for a first-round draft picks and a top linebacker or offensive lineman.
General manager Mike Maccagnan will surely have his hands full this offseason as he's a smart man that knows what he must do to push the envelope for the Jets next season. As the team should have taken care of Wilkerson in the past when it comes to his contract as they dropped the ball, it's apparent now that they won't be giving him the J.J. Watt kind of deal he's seeking.
Wilkerson is an excellent defensive lineman but he's nowhere near the caliber of athlete Watt is. While Wilkerson deserves a nice pay-raise and a long-term deal with the Jets, it would be silly for them to invest so much money into him when it has to be used to help their weaknesses at linebacker and offensive line.