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In a long-anticipated move, the New York Jets released defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson on Wednesday, ending a seven-year run that turned bitter last season.

The Jets had to cut Wilkerson before March 16 or else his $16.75 million salary for 2018 would have become fully guaranteed.

However, Wilkerson, 28, was benched for the final three games of last season, ostensibly because he was late for a meeting on Dec. 15 — the fourth time since 2015 he was disciplined for tardiness.

The Jets decided to keep him off the field for the remainder of the season because they were concerned about a potential injury, which could have resulted in the team being on the hook for his 2018 salary. By then, the organization had decided Wilkerson’s fate.

Wilkerson was due to count $20 million on the cap, the league’s fourth-highest cap charge for a non-quarterback. By cutting him, the Jets will save $11 million.

This culminates a significant fall for Wilkerson, a 2012 first-round pick who once appeared to be on the verge of stardom.

Wilkerson peaked in 2015, when he recorded a career-high 12 sacks and was named to his first Pro Bowl. In 2016, he was rewarded with a five-year, $86 million contract that included $37 million fully guaranteed at signing. He was the highest-paid player on the team in 2017, making $15 million in cash earnings.

His decline coincided with the new contract. In 28 games over the past two seasons, Wilkerson produced eight sacks. Privately, team officials questioned whether he still had a passion for the game.

In 2015, the Jets had one of the best defensive lines in the league, but they lost Damon Harrison in free agency and traded Sheldon Richardson. Now Wilkerson is gone, too. The only holdover is Leonard Williams, who the Jets selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

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Houston Texans expected to seek second interviews with Bills’ Leslie Frazier, Chiefs’ Eric Bieniemy, sources say

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The Houston Texans are expected to request second interviews with Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy after Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, sources told ESPN.

Both candidates believe they have a legitimate chance to land the Texans’ head-coaching job and have begun assembling a coaching staff in the event that they are hired, sources said.

Frazier is said to have had a strong interview with the Texans and has previous head-coaching experience from his time with the Minnesota Vikings. Bieniemy is viewed in many circles as a head coach in waiting, though he has recently been passed over by several teams.

As Houston’s head-coaching search ramps up, the winning coordinator from Sunday’s game could be the loser in the Texans’ search, as they would have to wait to hire him. The Texans could act quicker with the coordinator from the losing team.

This scenario played a key role in the Los Angeles Chargers‘ hiring of Brandon Staley last weekend over Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Once Staley’s Rams were eliminated from the playoffs, the Chargers were unwilling to wait for Daboll and hired Staley.

Other candidates the Texans have interviewed include quarterback Josh McCown, former Lions and Colts coach Jim Caldwell, Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and Ravens assistant head coach David Culley.

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Source — Tom Brady to make $1M in incentives if Tampa Bay Buccaneers win Super Bowl

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Tom Brady would continue to build on his legacy — and his fortune — if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the Super Bowl.

Brady will cash in on a $500,000 contract incentive if the Bucs beat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday and win the NFC Championship Game, a source told ESPN. The star quarterback will make another $500,000 if the Bucs win Super Bowl LV, according to the source.

Brady already has collected $1.25 million in incentives during Tampa Bay’s postseason run — $500,000 for making it to the playoffs, $250,000 for the Bucs wild-card win at Washington, and another $500,000 for last Sunday’s divisional playoff win against the New Orleans Saints, according to the source.

With a victory Sunday in Green Bay, the 43-year-old Brady will reach the Super Bowl for the 10th time in his storied career. He is trying to join Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning and Craig Morton as the only quarterbacks to lead two separate franchises to a Super Bowl.

Brady, who won six Super Bowls and played in nine total with the New England Patriots, passed for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns this season — his first with the Buccaneers. The three-time league MVP is trying to lead the Bucs to their first Super Bowl berth since their 2002 championship season.

“It’s been fun just being here, and I had a great time in New England, as well,” Brady said Friday. “I’ve had a great 21 years. I’m a very blessed and lucky guy. The fact that I’m still playing football, for me, is a blessing.”

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Source — Tom Brady to make $1M in incentives if Tampa Bay Buccaneers win Super Bowl

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Tom Brady would continue to build on his legacy — and his fortune — if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the Super Bowl.

Brady will cash in on a $500,000 contract incentive if the Bucs beat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday and win the NFC Championship Game, a source told ESPN. The star quarterback will make another $500,000 if the Bucs win Super Bowl LV, according to the source.

Brady already has collected $1.25 million in incentives during Tampa Bay’s postseason run — $500,000 for making it to the playoffs, $250,000 for the Bucs wild-card win at Washington, and another $500,000 for last Sunday’s divisional playoff win against the New Orleans Saints, according to the source.

With a victory Sunday in Green Bay, the 43-year-old Brady will reach the Super Bowl for the 10th time in his storied career. He is trying to join Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning and Craig Morton as the only quarterbacks to lead two separate franchises to a Super Bowl.

Brady, who won six Super Bowls and played in nine total with the New England Patriots, passed for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns this season — his first with the Buccaneers. The three-time league MVP is trying to lead the Bucs to their first Super Bowl berth since their 2002 championship season.

“It’s been fun just being here, and I had a great time in New England, as well,” Brady said Friday. “I’ve had a great 21 years. I’m a very blessed and lucky guy. The fact that I’m still playing football, for me, is a blessing.”

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