Mohammed Wilkerson has officially been placed with the franchise tag by the New York Jets, so at the very least, he will not become an unrestricted free agent. This move has brought a lot of speculation to what the Jets intentions are regarding the all-pro player. After franchise tagging a player, you have three options. Option one: player plays out year under franchise tag. Option two: Sign player to a long-term contract. Option three: Trade the player. While I happen to be a big fan of Mo, it is truly in the team’s best interest to lock him into a long-term deal prior to the start of training camp.
Have you heard the expression; one in the hand is worth two in the bush? What that means is your known commodity is worth more then the unknown potential of you getting more. If you found a diamond, and someone told you there’s two more in a cave, but you have to give him your diamond, would you be willing to go search the cave for something you may not find? That’s basically the Jets situation should they trade Mo for draft picks. At the end of the day, Mo is an all-pro defensive lineman that you can build a team around. Say the Jets trade Mo away for two 1st round draft picks, and they are able to come away with Jack Conklin and Ezekial Elliot in the 1st round. Who’s to say either one of those players will translate to the professional level? Lets look at other top talents at those positions from years past, 1st round tackles such as Eric Fischer and Luke Joekel have been busts in their career even though they were the top two players in that draft class, and last years running backs in the first round were 50/50 in terms of Gurley’s success and Gordon’s disappointment. The point being, there’s no guarantee these draft prospects pan out at the next level… meanwhile you know Mohammed Wilkerson is one of the best at his position.
No one said it’s going to be cheap or easy, but Mo is a player that is a leader on and off the field, is a fan favorite, and who dominates the line of scrimmage. Defense wins championships as Denver proved this past season and it wouldn’t make sense to trade away your top defensive player. It’s too big a risk to trade him for unknown talent. Sheldon Richardson makes a lot more sense in terms of trading, he has a lower cap number this season, many view him as a better talent, I don’t, and in addition to all of that he is immature and could potentially be a locker room cancer. The moral of the story is, you’re not going to find someone for equal or greater value in the NFL Draft for Wilkerson, or even in a player for player trade, so lock up your elite talent.
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