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Is NFL Zack Wilson Still part of the Jets’ Plans?
July 19, 2023
In the 2021 NFL Draft, the New York Jets made a significant move by selecting Zach Wilson, the former quarterback from BYU, as the No. 2 overall pick.
Wilson’s journey to the Jets began with a remarkable high school career at Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah, before he made his mark as a star player for the Cougars during his three seasons at BYU. Throughout his college career, Wilson showcased his skills by amassing an impressive 7,652 passing yards, throwing 56 touchdowns, and only 15 interceptions.
The long night seemed to be ending for Wilson and the Jets, and the promise of breaking a decade-long playoff drought finally felt real for one of the most punished fanbases in NFL history, but of course, things had to go badly as Wilson’s first steps weren’t up to the high standards expected from a No. 2 overall pick.
A Rocky Start to His Career
Transitioning to the professional level, Wilson’s rookie season proved to be a rollercoaster ride filled with both triumphs and setbacks. He demonstrated promise by throwing for 2,334 yards and recording nine touchdowns. However, there were also dark spots as he threw 11 interceptions and faced a setback due to a knee injury, which caused him to miss a significant portion of the season and NFL Lines for the Jets to be pessimistic.
Heading into the 2022 season, Wilson was anticipated to elevate his game after his rookie experience with the Jets, even though the team only managed four wins. Unfortunately, his preparations were disrupted by another knee injury during the preseason, resulting in him missing the start of the regular season. In October 2022, Wilson finally made his debut and played a vital role in the Jets securing four consecutive victories.
However, after consecutive losses to the New England Patriots, the Jets decided to bench Wilson for nearly a month. In mid-December, due to quarterback injuries within the team, Wilson was once again thrust into the starting role. Unfortunately, the Jets experienced two consecutive defeats with Wilson as the QB1, leading to his benching for the remainder of the season, and ultimately, the Jets’ failure to reach the playoffs.
Among the ups and downs of Wilson’s 2022 season, one standout moment was the Jets’ victory over the Packers, led by Aaron Rodgers. This win held special significance for Wilson, as Rodgers had been one of his idols while growing up.
What Does Aaron Rodgers’ Arrival Mean for Wilson’s Future?
Recently, Jets head coach Robert Saleh declared Wilson as the team’s QB2, but speculation arises regarding the team’s long-term plans for Wilson. Multiple reports indicate that the Jets have shifted away from considering Wilson as their future franchise quarterback, although they may not publicly acknowledge it.
Trading Wilson poses significant challenges. His value has diminished following two disappointing seasons, and the financial implications make it difficult for the Jets to find a suitable trade partner. Wilson’s contract includes significant salary obligations in 2023 and 2024, and trading him would result in substantial dead cap penalties for the Jets.
Furthermore, the lack of depth behind Wilson complicates matters, as the Jets currently have only Tim Boyle and Chris Streveler as backup quarterbacks. While the team could explore signing another veteran, they have shown reluctance to pursue that option.
Publicly, the Jets maintain their belief in Wilson’s potential for development in New York, but the likelihood of declining his fifth-year option next offseason suggests a lack of long-term commitment. Wilson’s future with the Jets remains uncertain, but trading him during the summer seems improbable due to the numerous obstacles involved. The NFL odds look better for the Jets with Rodgers instead of Wilson, but the 40-year-old veteran isn’t the long-term solution for a franchise that desperately needs a streak of success.