Sheldon Richardson’s offseason antics have already impacted the New York Jets in a negative way, providing an unnecessary distraction from Todd Bowles’ first camp as head coach. But it may inadvertently bring a positive for fellow teammate Muhammad Wilkerson. Namely, a new contract.
With rumors swirling that Sheldon Richardson may “never play a down” in the NFL this season, as reported by Inquisitr, the onus to lock Wilkerson up as a Jet has now just increased. And according to the New York Daily News, Muhammad is confident a deal will be reached.
“Wilkerson wouldn’t comment on how much money or how many years he is seeking, but he did say he is ‘confident’ a deal will get done.”
It’s amazing how fast the narrative for Wilkerson has changed in just the span of two months. Before the start of OTAs, his negotiating leverage took a major hit when New York selected Leonard Williams with the number six pick in the draft. With a plethora of depth at the D-line position, it looked as if Muhammad was going to have to endure an entire season with only one guaranteed year left on his rookie contract and face a possible franchise tag the following year.
“It’s my job to go out and be competitive with my teammates and get ready for games on Sundays,” Wilkerson told reporters who asked if negotiations would continue if a deal couldn’t be reached by the start of the NFL season. “I don’t want to be worried about (my) contract situation because that’s a distraction to myself as well as my teammates.”
This lead to various reports of a “frustrated” Wilkerson, according to ESPN.
“It is a little frustrating, but at the end of the day I am happy to be out here with my teammates and get the season going.”
But then came the Sheldon Richardson bombshells. First, the Pro Bowl lineman was hit with a four-game suspension for marijuana issues. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the former Rookie of the Year was then arrested just two weeks later for going 143 mph and resisting arrest in his home state of Missouri. The fact that he wasn’t arrested for child endangerment — a 12-year-old relative was present in the automobile — was about the only bit of luck Richardson has had as of late.
Which brings us back to Mo. If you’re the Jets, who would you rather lock up to a long-term deal? A steady, productive player who does the organization proud both on-and-off the field? Or a troubled Sheldon Richardson, who didn’t even tell the team he’d been arrested?
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