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New York Jets’ potential trade return for Zach Wilson revealed by NFL executives

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson
Credit: Jim Rassol / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Jets once believed that quarterback Zach Wilson was arguably the best quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft class. Just a few years later, Wilson is on the verge of becoming one of the biggest NFL Draft busts ever with a trade value to reflect that.

Wilson, the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft behind Trevor Lawrence, has struggled since entering the league. In his first season, Wilson went 3-10 as a starter and was statistically one of the worst rookie quarterbacks in NFL history. Unfortunately for New York, he wasn’t any better the following season.

  • Zach Wilson stats 2023: 77.2 QB rating, 60.1% completion rate, 2,271 passing yards, 8-7 TD-INT, 6.2 yards per attempt, 46 sacks taken in 12 games

Related: NFL insider reveals New York Jets’ top target with 10th pick

It’s why the Jets went out and acquired Aaron Rodgers. Despite the risks associated with a 39-year-old quarterback with durability issues starting behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines, New York needed to upgrade at the position. After months of excitement, Rodgers’ season ended moments into Week 1 with a torn Achilles that forced Wilson back into the lineup.

Now, following a disastrous 2023 season that saw Wilson benched and at one point reportedly refusing to start again, the Jets seem ready to move on from their former first-round pick. However, the potential return for him in a trade may prove to be another reminder of the team’s mistake.

ESPN’s Rich Cimini spoke to many around the league regarding Wilson’s trade value. With a “high probability” of the former No. 2 pick being traded, it appears New York will be welcomed by a very cold trade market.

Related: New York Jets finally own up to crucial 2024 mistake

  • Zach Wilson career stats: 73.2 QB rating, 57% completion rate, 6.3 yards per attempt, 23-25 TD-INT, 113 sacks taken in 34 games

What can the Jets get back in a Zach Wilson trade?

NFL: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The three NFL executives polled by ESPN said Wilson’s trade value is likely a sixth- or seventh-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. In a best-case scenario, if a club is willing to take a chance, New York might have a slight chance of swapping mid-round picks and moving up potentially from Round 6 to Round 5.

“I’d give up a two-week stay at a Best Western. I’m not a fan.”

Anonymous NFL assistant coach on what he’d be willing to trade for New York Jets QB Zach Wilson

One team executive theorized the Jets could pursue a trade contingent on Wilson’s playing time. In that scenario, New York could ask for a conditional 2025 draft pick that becomes a fourth-round selection if Wilson plays 50 percent of the offensive snaps for his new team next season.

However, the far likelier scenario is that Jets general manager Joe Douglas will have to settle for a straight-up trade of Wilson for a sixth- or seventh-round pick. After that, New York would immediately turn its focus to finding a reliable veteran quarterback to backup Rodgers entering his age-40 season.

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