The Buccaneers Should Try to Sign Muhammad Wilkerson
Muhammad Wilkerson is a game changer. He would be the difference maker for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ team that was only able to muster up six victories in 2015.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers accumulated just six victories during the 2015 NFL season, and their poor defense was a major reason for this. The Bucs gave up 26.1 points per game, which ranked them 26th in the NFL in points allowed per game. In the NFL, a team’s success on defense is often dictated by how well players on the defensive line can pressure the quarterback, which is where the Bucs fell way short last season. Often times it seemed like the opposing quarterback could read a full novel, get some breakfast, and finish his laundry by the time the Bucs’ defensive line reached him. Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson of the New York Jets is exactly the player the Bucs need to change this.
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The Bucs’ decision not to franchise Doug Martin has been met with heavy criticism, but this decision will keep the Bucs nearly $50 million under the salary cap, which could open the door for them to address one of their major weaknesses on defense, which is the need for a dominant defensive end that can pressure the quarterback. Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson is certainly a player the Bucs should look at.
In 2015, Muhammad Wilkerson played in all 16 games for the New York Jets accumulating 12 sacks, and 64 tackles, (39 solo tackles) which also lead to him being selected to the 2015 Pro Bowl. To put this in perspective, the Bucs’ top two defensive ends Jacquies Smith and Howard Jones combined for 12 sacks, and 36 tackles (24 solo tackles). Wilkerson will be going into his sixth NFL season, and can provide the veteran leadership the Bucs so desperately need.
Wilkerson also requires full attention during every play, which will allow other teammates more opportunities to make big plays.
Muhammad Wilkerson would provide a major boost to a weak defensive Bucs’ team, but there are some concerns that team management will have to address before making such a huge commitment. Unfortunately, Wilkerson did break his right fibula during a week 17 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Wilkerson did have surgery and by all reports his rehab is ahead of schedule with no setbacks so far, but this can still be concerning for an organization that will need to spend over $15 million per year over the next four seasons.
The New York Jets did place a non-exclusive franchise tag on Wilkerson. With this being the case, the Bucs can offer Wilkerson a contract, but the Jets would have the right to match the offer and keep him. If the Jets were not to match the offer, the Bucs would have to give up two 1st round draft picks.
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The price for Wilkerson is definitely high, but this would be the shot in the arm the Bucs’ organization needs. In my opinion, the Bucs already have plenty of young talented players, so losing a couple of 1st round picks in exchange for Muhammad Wilkerson would be well worth it.