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Report: Jets feel Muhammad Wilkerson takes plays off

Rachel Wold
Muhammad Wilkerson

New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson failed to play up to expectations in 2016. He put up just 4.5 sacks (his lowest since his rookie year) compared to the 12 he posted in 2015.

For good reason, the one-time Pro-Bowl pass rusher is drawing negative criticism per a team source.

“Mo doesn’t cut it loose all the time,” a source said, per Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News. “There’s times when he takes a lot of plays off.”

The source might as well have come out and said Wilkerson was a slacker last year. Another inside Jets source continued to dish on Wilkerson.

“He confuses being active with playing hard,” a Jets insider said. “He thinks he’s giving his all, but there’s a difference between just giving effort and actually playing hard and playing all-out.”

Given the opportunity to defend himself, Wilkerson declined, according to a Jets spokesperson. After a stunning 2015 season, Wilkerson was signed to a five-year $86 million deal that paid him $36.75 million at the time of the signing, per the report.

He next plopped out one of his worst seasons to date last year. In March, a scout noted this about Wilkerson’s physical shape.

“He looked like a pedestrian with a huge gut,” one scout, who saw Wilkerson two weeks ago, said, per Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News. “I was shocked.”

Wilkerson reportedly posted a video of him working out on a treadmill in response.

Hopefully, Wilkerson will have a rebound year and prove his naysayers wrong. He might not remain a Jet past this season if he fails to meet expectations.