You've seen the best and the worst of the New York Jets over the past few days.
On Sunday night in Denver, a distraught Josh McCown, knowing his season was over because of a fractured left hand, broke down and cried after the game because he was so emotionally invested in his job and his team. It was refreshing to see a professional athlete care so much.
On the flip side, there's the Muhammad Wilkerson situation. Showing no regard for the team, only himself, Wilkerson showed up late (again) to the team meeting on Friday morning, according to a source. He was promptly benched by coach Todd Bowles, who announced that Wilkerson won't make the trip to New Orleans this weekend. It was the second time in 12 days that he had to be disciplined, the fourth time in three years.
Not only is Wilkerson playing poorly, but he's behaving badly -- a toxic combination. We're talking about a once-fantastic player whose 2017 dossier includes more instances of tardiness than sacks (3.5). Clearly, he has checked out, mentally. He's the anti-McCown, and he shouldn't be allowed to play again this season.
Mo must go.
At some point, Mo will go, because he has no future with the Jets. For now, they should deactivate him for the remainder of the season. He shouldn't be around the team because what's the point? Nothing good would come of that. Put him in "timeout." Send him home and make him spend extra time with his alarm clock, because they're obviously not in sync.
Technically, the Jets could release Wilkerson immediately with no salary-cap ramifications. The reason is because his $14.8 million base salary for 2017 is guaranteed, so they're stuck with it no matter what. There is one downside to cutting him now; they wouldn't have the option of using the June 1 designation. That could come in handy in the offseason.
If the Jets cut Wilkerson before the third day of the 2018 league year (March) -- and they will because that's when his $16.8 million salary for '18 would become guaranteed -- they'd lower his cap charge from $20 million to $9 million. If they use the June 1 designation, they'd lower the "dead" charge to $3 million, spreading out the hit over 2018 and 2019. That would mean a $17 million savings in 2018.
Translation: Wilkerson will be an easy cut in the offseason.
Another reason to wait is because it would prevent him from going to a contender. Why cut him now and watch him sign with a playoff-bound team? They're still paying off Darrelle Revis, now a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, so why subsidize another player's Super Bowl dream? That's assuming Wilkerson cares about winning a championship.
The Jets made a big mistake by rewarding Wilkerson with a five-year, $86 million contract in July, 2016. They knew about his off-the-field issues, but they were willing to look the other way because he promised to change his ways. He played them for suckers, pocketing $37 million for two years of sub-standard play. A minimum-salary veteran could've given the Jets as much as Wilkerson over the past two years.
And now he shouldn't be allowed to wear the uniform again.