New York Jets reportedly holding off Zach Wilson trade for key reason

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson skipped voluntary workouts in April just three years after he was the second overall pick in the NFL Draft. With the 2024 NFL Draft imminent, there is reportedly a clear reason why the Jets haven’t traded their former starting quarterback yet.

At the NFL Combine, Jets general manager Joe Douglas told reporters that Wilson’s agent was granted permission to seek a trade. New York wanted its former first-round pick to find a change of scenery, allowing him to latch on with a team as long as there was a market for him.

Related: New York jets reporter reveals team ‘most likely’. to trade for Zach Wilson

  • Zach Wilson career stats: 12-21 record, 73.2 QB rating, 57% completion rate, 23-25 TD-INT, 6.3 yards per attempt, 185.1 passing yards per game, 113 sacks taken

More than two months later, NFL trade rumors on Wilson have been silent. The Jets have no plans for him in 2024 with starter Aaron Rodgers returning and Tyrod Taylor added as the backup quarterback for the 2024 season. Despite both the team and player wanting a fresh start, there has been little movement on that coming to fruition this offseason.

There are plenty of NFL teams willing to roll the dice on a physically gifted quarterback who merited a first-round pick but didn’t pan out with his original team. The Dallas Cowboys trade for Trey Lance demonstrated that in 2023 and it’s been even more prevalent in 2024 with Justin Fields, Kenny Pickett and Mac Jones traded. However, the reason for Wilson still being with New York seems to be financially motivated.

Related: NFL insider reveals why teams aren’t interested in Zach Wilson

  • Zach Wilson contract: $11.184 million cap hit in 2024, 2025 NFL free agent

UPDATE: 2:30 PM ET – The Jets have traded Zach Wilson to the Denver Broncos, with New York receiving a sixth-round pick in 2024 and Denver acquiring Wilson paired with a seventh-round pick in 2024.

Will the Jets trade Zach Wilson?

According to Rich Cimini of ESPN, the Jets are waiting to trade Wilson because they are looking for a team “willing to pick up a chunk of his $5.5 million salary” for the upcoming season. New York is also currently carrying an $11.184 million hit to their cap sheet because of Wilson and trading him outright would only free up $5.453 million of that.

Related: NFL talent evaluators’ consensus opinion on Zach Wilson

The issue for the Jets is that the lack of trade interest in Wilson is heavily tied to many teams wondering if he’ll eventually be released, allowing them to scoop him up in free agency at minimal cost. Even if there is a club willing to trade for Wilson now, taking on any of his salary would be doing the Jets a favor financially.

Ultimately, New York will have to decide whether it wants to keep Wilson as a third-string quarterback with an $11 million cap hit or bite the financial bullet and trade him at another club’s terms. If New York isn’t willing to make those accommodations in trade talks, it will be stuck with Wilson or his dead cap hit.

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