Soon, it could be over.
Head coach Todd Bowles' decision to leave Muhammad Wilkerson behind today when the Jets travel to New Orleans to play the Saints on Sunday adds to earlier speculation that the Jets were unhappy with the play of their former Pro Bowl defensive end, and were considering releasing him at season's end. He didn't specify why, but stated that it was not injury related and was instead a "coach's decision", per several accounts. "If that's what he wants to do, I can see him being an excellent coach when he's done playing". Bowles calls this a coach's decision and says he's anxious only about the players who will face the Saints. "With the defensive personnel, I think it's good to know some of these guys". "I'm not anxious about Mo right now". "I made my decision". He was late to a team meeting Friday morning, a source told ESPN. The Jets don't need that kind of problem in the locker room and well, on the football field in their final few games of the season.
Wilkerson clearly wants out of NY and the Jets will likely grant his wish by cutting him this offseason. While there would be $9 million in dead money, the Jets would save $11 million in cap space by releasing him.
Wilkerson is in the second year of the five-year contract he signed in 2016 and he's set to make $16.75 million next season.
Bowles also wouldn't say whether the benching could last for more than just one game.
Now, Wilkerson will miss an entire game because he can't - or, more accurately, won't - show up on time to a simple meeting.
Wilkerson has been punished the last two seasons for being late to meetings, .
A seven-year veteran, Wilkerson has 3.5 sacks this season - down from the 12 he had in 2015 - and 46 tackles.
Wilkerson was benched during the first quarter of New York's Week 13 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, and Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News later reported that a team source said, "He's gone", with regard to Wilkerson's Jets future.
"I'm just anxious about the guys going to the game tomorrow, and I'm going to coach those 53 guys", Bowles said before repeating it several times when pushed for details.