The New York Jets benched Zach Wilson twice in 2022, moving the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft down to becoming the third-string quarterback on the depth chart. Despite his multiple demotions, though, it appears Wilson will remain in 2023.
In what has otherwise been a breakout season for New York, its quarterback situation remains a source of concern. Wilson was first benched in favor of Mike White, the decision came days after the locker room turned on the face of the franchise.
When White missed two starts with a rib injury, Wilson played so poorly on Dec. 22 against the Jacksonville Jaguars that he was booed off the field and then replaced by career journeyman Chris Streveler in the second half.
Related: New York Jets QB options 2023
Heading into the final two games of the regular season, Wilson is expected to be a gameday inactive with no real involvement until the final game wraps up. However, it appears Wilson’s dismal first two seasons haven’t convinced New York that it needs to move on from him.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Jets’ front office and coaching staff remain aligned on the plan to bring Wilson back in 2023. While some around the NFL have speculated about a potential trade, it is reportedly evident that New York has no intention of dealing Wilson.
- Zach Wilson career stats: 55.2% completion rate, 70.9 QB rating, 15-18 TD-INT, 182.8 pass ypg, 9.7% sack rate, 2.9% interception rate
“We’re not going to quit on him.”New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh on quarterback Zach Wilson
Unsurprisingly, the Jets are taking the same approach they did after Wilson’s first benching. After moving the second-year quarterback down the depth chart in late November, Jets’ sources passed along to Rapoport that Wilson “may grind too hard” with his work ethic, bringing an intensity and determination that makes it “difficult to function.”
It’s a positive spin on a player who has shown nothing on the field across 22 starts that would suggest he can become a viable starting quarterback. Fast forward to Week 17 and New York is once again trying to heap praise on Wilson’s work ethic and character.
“The team views Wilson as an incredibly hard worker, a good teammate and very smart. He has handled his demotions well and kept working.”Ian Rapoport on New York Jets’ internal feelings about Zach Wilson
At least for now, New York remains committed to the player who it once felt confident would be the face of its franchise. However, it is always possible that sentiment from within the locker room and a further evaluation by the front office could result in change this spring.
Until that happens, though, the Jets are prepared to keep talking about Wilson’s maturity, work ethic and character as reasons to stick by him. If he returns in 2023 and doesn’t play well, proving the 22-game sample size wasn’t too small of a sample size, then trading him could quickly become an option.