Muhammad Wilkerson became a disgrace the second he quit
Bobby Bonilla once vowed defiantly after the Mets signed him to that five-year, $29 million in December 1991 that New York would not wipe the smile off his face, and we learned quickly enough that it did.
New York has claimed another victim, a malcontent football mercenary who cheated the Jets and himself.
Muhammad Wilkerson’s only contribution since he was signed to a five-year, $86 million deal in 2016 is the $11 million in cap savings that will help the Jets chase Kirk Cousins.
For $37 million, Wilkerson provided eight sacks and sleepless nights for an organization that couldn’t get him to team meetings on time.
He played the Jets for suckers on a defensive line that was going to rival the New York Sack Exchange.
With problem child Sheldon Richardson jettisoned to the Seahawks in the preseason trade that brought Jermaine Kearse and a second-round pick, it became the New York Slacker Exchange.
Rex Ryan watched this hungry, imposing, long Jersey Kid, drafted with the 30th pick of the 2011 draft, begin to wreak havoc and likened him to former Patriots defensive end Richard Seymour.
“He could play a 3-4 end, could play a tackle in a 4-3, so versatility was something I thought he definitely had, and I thought he’d get better as a pass rusher, and I think he did,” Ryan told The Post. “We were picking pretty far down that year, and I thought Mo was a great pick for us then.”
For a brief flash, before he cashed in, the Jets were optimistic that Wilkerson could be the AFC East version of J.J. Watt.
Then they showed him the money.
And Mo Wilkerson became a no-show, on the field and inside the Atlantic Health Training Center.
Showed the franchise that raised him from a pup absolutely no respect.
In essence, he became a poor-man’s version of Albert Haynesworth, who was rewarded by the Redskins with a $100 million free-agent contract ($41 million guaranteed) and played 20 games.
A poor-man’s version whose perpetual frown turned upside down only at the bank.
“It’s not necessarily a reflection of Big Mo, because football’s a business and sometimes having $20 million locked up on a defensive lineman, unless he’s a 15-sack guy, that’s probably not good business,” Ryan said.
But it looked like good business because Wilkerson was a 10.5-sack guy in 2013 and a 12-sack guy in 2015. If there was handwriting on the wall, the Jets decided not to read it.
“At the time they thought their team was in position to make a run,” Ryan said.
Wilkerson, now 28, broke his right leg in the Jets’ ill-fated playoff eliminator in the 2015 regular-season finale in Buffalo. And yet Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles put their money where Wilkerson’s mouth was and locked him up as what they hoped would be a foundation piece months later.
“Some guys heal faster than others, and sometimes for a lineman, it takes a little longer because they get heavy and out of shape,” Ryan said, “and I don’t know if that was Mo’s situation or not, but I’ve seen it before where guys get heavy. When you’re in the league longer, unless you’re a nose tackle, you need to get lighter instead of heavier, and it seemed like with him battling that leg injury, I’m sure that was tough to do.”
There is nothing and no one we care less about around here than a player who cares less and stops caring.
It seemed like there were as many benchings and suspensions as highlights.
“I think there’s gonna be a lot of takers for him out there, I really do,” Ryan said.
They can have him.