Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was late to a team meeting on Friday, a source confirmed, and will not travel to Sunday's game against the Saints. They would still incur a $9 million dead money charge, but considering Wilkerson's chronic issues, releasing him in the offseason seems like best - and frankly, only - option moving forward. But Wilkerson hasn't held up his end of the deal - on the field or off.
Bowles said he addressed the decision with his team Friday but wouldn't discuss what was said. "Call it whatever you want, I just thought that was the right decision". Bowles calls this a coach's decision and says he's anxious only about the players who will face the Saints.
But in terms of the Jets' overall team vibe down the stretch, I do think they'll keep it together and not split like they did late last season.
It's unusual for a coach to say it, but Morton acknowledged on Thursday that he just wanted to run out the clock because he felt the Jets "didn't have a chance" to rally against the Denver Broncos, who led the game 23-0.
Bowles wouldn't confirm if Wilkerson will play again this season.
Bowles is tight-lipped to a fault at times, and Friday was no different. I made the decision.
Bowles said he had a discussion with Wilkerson, who was not available for comment in the Jets locker room.
Bowles also repeatedly declined to answer follow-up questions wondering why Wilkerson won't make the trip. "It's about the team, and we got a big challenge in front of us Sunday, and that's all we're going to be focused on".
Wilkerson hasn't missed any games this year despite playing with a sprained shoulder and toe injury, and he spent last season recovering from a broken leg.
General manager Mike Maccagnan has made some admirable moves since he was hired in 2015, but paying $39 million to cornerback Darrelle Revis for two mostly underachieving seasons (2015-16) and giving Wilkerson nearly as much for two crummy years are low points of Maccagnan's tenure to date. The Jets used the franchise tag on Wilkerson for 2016, but the sides worked out a long-term agreement minutes before the July 15 deadline last season.