Mo Wilkerson was back at the Jets' practice facility on Monday. And it's still possible that he was there for the last time.
Jets coach Todd Bowles refused to say whether the 28-year-old Wilkerson would be allowed to practice with the team this week or play in either of the Jets' final two games, one day after Wilkerson wasn't even allowed to be with the Jets for their game in New Orleans. As SNY reported last week, Bowles is considering suspending or deactivating the troublesome veteran for the remainder of the season.
Bowles said only that the Wilkerson situation is "an internal thing" and that they're "still working through" some of the issues. He added that there will be "a lot of people involved" in any decision, and that those conversations will include the Jets' front office.
"When we make a decision," Bowles said, "we'll let you guys know."
Wilkerson, of course, got into this latest mess when he showed up very late to the Jets' facility on Friday, missing a significant part of the morning team meeting. He, then, left the facility after being informed by Bowles that he wouldn't be allowed to travel with the Jets for their Sunday game against the Saints.
Several Jets sources said the organization - in particular, Bowles - are fed up with Wilkerson's behavior. He has now been benched four times for what a team source described as "chronic" lateness - and those are just the incidents that became public. It is believed he has been punished and fined many other times.
The Jets know they will be cutting Wilkerson in the offseason, according to multiple team sources, before his $16.75 million salary for 2018 becomes guaranteed on March 16. It actually makes financial sense to deactivate him now, too, because that salary is already guaranteed for injury - meaning Wilkerson could collect if he suffers a significant injury in the Jets' final two games.
The Jets may not be willing to risk that, especially for a player who clearly hasn't bought into Bowles program, and doesn't appear to even care enough to show up on time. They likely won't cut him now, even though it wouldn't affect their cap this season because they likely want to keep the option of designating him as a "post June 1" cut in the offseason.
The way the NFL cap rules work, if Wilkerson - who is scheduled to count for $20 million against the Jets cap in 2018 - is cut now or before June 1 his cap number would be reduced to $9 million, for a savings of $11 million. But if the Jets cut him after this season and declare him a "post June 1" cut, his 2018 cap number would be reduced to $3 million, for a savings of $17 million.
The catch to that is, as a "post June 1" cut, Wilkerson would still count for $3 million against the Jets cap in 2019 and 2020, too.
However they handle it, it's clear Wilkerson's days with the Jets are numbered. He has just eight sacks in 28 games since signing a five-year, $86 million contract. He has made $37 million over the first two years of that deal.