The New York Jets shocked the NFL world by signing Muhammad Wilkerson to a long-term contract on Friday, potentially facilitating the means to bring quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick back into the fold.
Wilkerson’s deal is reportedly a five-year contract worth up to $86 million, with $54 million guaranteed in the first three years. Though it is not yet known what his cap hit will be this upcoming season, the contract likely gives the Jets some extra space, Steve Serby of the New York Post reports.
“NFL salary cap expert Joel Corry suggests Wilkerson’s 2016 cap relief deal could free up cap room for a one-year deal with Ryan Fitzpatrick because the Jets had $3.425 million of space before the deal,” writes Serby.
Because of this, Serby believes Wilkerson’s new deal “provides hope” that general manager Mike Maccagnan can “seek a conciliatory compromise” with Fitzpatrick “and effectively kill two birds with one financial stone.”
The last reported contract offer New York had extended to Fitzpatrick was a low-ball three-year deal that would pay him just $12 million in 2016 (more details here).
That New York needs Fitzpatrick behind center to contend for a playoff spot is hardly debatable. While he doesn’t have any other real options at this time, the best thing that could happen for both sides is a compromise that gets him back onto the roster before training camp begins at the end of July.