It has long been expected that in order to keep Muhammad Wilkerson the Jets would have a lengthy contract battle on their hands. Well, New York took that first step in the battle, by placing the franchise tag on Wilkerson for 2016, meaning that the star defensive end will make $15.7 million.
Chances are this will be an exclusive franchise tag, meaning that Wilkerson will be locked into a one-year deal with the Jets, giving GM Mike Maccagnan more time to negotiate a long term deal, if he so chose.
If the Jets give Wilkerson a non-exclusive franchise tag, then other can jump into the mix to sign him, and you know the Jets don't want Buffalo, Miami or New England going after Wilkerson in this kind of situation.
Wilkerson was a first round pick in 2011 out of Temple University, and led the team in sacks with 12 last year before suffering a broken leg in the final game of the season at Buffalo. Even with that, the Jets insist that the injury would not play a role in negotiations. I don't think it is playing a role. I think this is clearly a situation where the Jets and Wilkerson can not come to terms on a long term deal.
The potential of losing Wilkerson, who has been the Jets best player would be detrimental. New York must find some common ground with the player in this next year, because playing without Wilkerson in the line-up is too much to bare.