Muhammad Wilkerson makes a lot of sense for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 29: Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 29: Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson /

The New York Jets are expected to part ways with Muhammad Wilkerson next year and the Kansas City Chiefs make a lot of sense as his next home.

It wasn’t so long ago that Muhammad Wilkerson was the best player among a star-studded defensive line for the New York Jets. The unit was known as a lockdown defensive front anchored by the disruptive presence of Wilkerson along with other dominating defenders like Sheldon Richardson, Damon Harrison and Leonard Williams.

How quickly things change in the NFL.

Now the Jets reportedly cannot rid themselves of Wilkerson fast enough. According to CBS Sports reporter Jason La Canfora, the Jets might not even activate Wilkerson for their final game of the season in order to keep him from being injured (therefore costing the Jets more contractual money). As recently as 2016, the Jets signed Wilkerson to a five-year, $86 million deal, but now they’re ready to part ways entirely and take the $9 million hit in dead cap space.

No one should expect Wilkerson to bring the sort of 10 to 12 sack performance as a lineman that he did in previous years (read: younger) with the Jets. However, when focused, he is definitely a positive asset along the defensive front. This year, he has 3.5 sacks and 1 interception, and he’s always been frustrating for quarterbacks for his batted passes at the line of scrimmage, as he has four more passes defended this season.

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Wilkerson makes a lot of sense for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018. Wilkerson entered the NFL playing for current Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton for his first two seasons, so the scheme familiarity is already there. The Chiefs also have the sort of winning culture and positive leadership to quell any character concerns. Even disruptions get quickly turned around, as illustrated by the one-game suspension of Marcus Peters that has become a rallying point for the player and team. The Chiefs also quelled any quarterback controversy for a full season despite an NFL culture that stirs drama with 24/7 coverage.

Even more important for Wilkerson is his ability to cash in one more major paycheck in his career. He might need to take a one-year deal to show himself a model citizen, and the Chiefs have the sort of strong locker room and veteran head coach to handle it all. The Chiefs could give Wilkerson a decent amount of money for a single year, allowing him to turn things around personally and professionally while playing for a winning team in the process.

Bennie Logan and Jarvis Jenkins are both unrestricted free agents in 2018, which means the Chiefs could lose two rotational players. Chris Jones and Rakeem Nunez-Roches are guaranteed back and remain cheap, young options for the Chiefs in 2018. The Chiefs have a serious decision to make regarding Allen Bailey, who is due $8 million in 2018. He can be cut with only a $2 million dead cap hit, but he also seems likely for a restructured deal if he likes K.C. enough.

Next: What's happening with James Harrison?

Regardless, the Chiefs are likely to add a young body in the draft along the interior but the presence of Wilkerson could really keep the line as a dominant force up front. Maybe Logan will be re-signed, Bailey will be restructured (or simply allowed to play out his deal), and the Chiefs will just bring everyone back for another year. But if they want, Wilkerson makes a good deal of sense, has the familiarity and the Chiefs are the perfect place to rehab his image.