Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson came to Green Bay hoping to revive his career and restore his perception around the league. When things went sour after seven seasons with the New York Jets, Wilkerson needed a fresh start so the Packers offered him a one-year 5$ million dollar prove it deal. However, in week three against the Washington Redskins, he suffered a brutal ankle injury that ended his bounce-back season.
Soon Green Bay will have a tough decision on their hands on whether or not to re-sign the 29-year-old pass rusher. At one point Wilkerson was one of the top defensive ends in the league reaching double-digit sack totals in 2013 and 2015. But now there’s a reason to believe his best days are behind him.
When Wilkerson came to the Packers he was joining a studded group of defensive lineman that included Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels. Assuming Wilkerson was refocused, this group appeared to be set for a deadly 2018 campaign.
Wilkerson started the first three games of the season before getting hurt but his impact was marginal. Five tackles and four quarterback hurries resulting in zero sacks gave a dull outlook for what might have happened had he stayed healthy.
Third-year defensive end Dean Lowry did a solid job starting eight of the remaining 13 games. Lowry has a similar body type to Wilkerson but he lacks the explosiveness of the former Jets Pro-Bowler. Lowry finished the year totaling 44 tackles and three sacks.
The Packers have plenty of depth along their defensive front including 2017 third rounder Montravius Adams and undrafted free agent Tyler Lancaster who had a strong ending to his first NFL season. If Wilkerson would like another shot in Green Bay, he would have to accept a deal similar to the one he signed last offseason.
That is if there is a mutual interest and the Packers don’t want to move on with their developing young talent.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.