NY Jets Rumors: Leonard Williams Hurts Muhammad Wilkerson Contract, Ryan Fitzpatrick Favors Eric Decker as Devin Smith, Jeremy Kerley Battle with Brandon Marshall

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Sep 11, 2015 09:02 AM EDT
Muhammad Wilkerson
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson celebrates a sack in 2014."

All eyes are on the offense of the New York Jets as Ryan Fitzpatrick is set to make the start while Geno Smith works on his return to the field. Head coach Todd Bowles stressed his confidence in the veteran quarterback, stating he is healthy and has the right mindset going into the matchup against the Cleveland Browns. The question will be the players that surround him as the Jets got back several key pieces to the offense.

According to ESPN's Rich Cimini, Chris Ivory was a full participant at practice as he is expected to be the workhorse running back in 2015. However, rookie Devin Smith is not expected to play in Week 1. Smith was drafted to be a big receiving threat for the Jets as many thought the rookie would earn a starting spot over Jeremy Kerley. However, a rib injury in the preseason has him sidelined and anxious for a return.

"There's really nothing you can do other than rest," Smith said, via Scout.com. "I don't have a timetable. It's one of those things you've gotta just wait until you're healthy. I feel like I'm that big-play guy. When you put (me, Decker, Marshall) together, we're gonna help each other and make plays for this football team. Right now, I'm trying to fill my role and help this team in anyway I can. If that means go deep all the time, that's what I'll do." 

For now, the Jets will rely heavily on Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker to get the job done for Fitzpatrick. Both receivers are expected to be big playmakers especially against a weaker Browns' secondary. With cornerback Joe Haden likely placed on Marshall, Decker will be matched up with Tramon Williams. Last season, Decker had a career game against the Browns with 11 catches for 221 yards and he expects much of the same in 2015.

There are still some issues on the defense outside of injury problems. ESPN is predicting that Leonard Williams is a candidate for Rookie of the Year which could put the future of Muhammad Wilkerson in jeopardy. Cimini reports there is no progress on contract talks for the defensive end as a deal is unlikely heading into the 2015 season. If Williams becomes a star this year, the Jets might be less inclined to bring back Wilkerson at the contract he is demanding. The star is aiming to get a deal similar to what JJ Watt earned with the Houston Texans. Williams will factor into that money.

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