Focus turns to unsigned rookies Zach Wilson, Trey Lance with NFL training camps starting

Zach Wilson, New York Jets
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

All 32 teams have now reported to training camp, including Zach Wilson and the New York Jets and Trey Lance’s San Francisco 49ers.

These two rookies are unlike every other first-round pick from April’s NFL Draft in that they remain unsigned with practices set to get going here soon.

The No. 2 overall pick of the Jets, Wilson’s contract stalemate seemingly stems from New York wanting offset language in his contract. Meanwhile, the 49ers always cut it close when signing first-round rookies. Apparently, Lance is no different this year.

To say that it’s important for these two rookies to be in camp would be an understatement. Now that Los Angeles Chargers tackle Rashawn Slater signed on the dotted line earlier Tuesday, the focus turns to Wilson and Lance.

What is the hold up with Zach Wilson and the New York Jets?

New York jets QB Zach Wilson contract
May 27, 2021; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) participates in a drill during an OTA at Jets Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

“Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Jets and quarterback Zach Wilson have struck multiple roadblocks on the path to a contract for the second overall pick in the draft. Issues include (but aren’t limited to) cash flow and offset language,” Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported on Tuesday.

In simpler terms, offset language enables a team to receive some of the guarantees back on a rookie contract if said player does not suit up a full four seasons with his initial team. Let’s say Zach Wilson is released after three seasons. New York would then be able to receive some of the fully-guaranteed cash it gave the quarterback in the first place.

As of right now, Wilson is almost guaranteed to be the Jets’ starting quarterback when they kick off the regular season Week 1 against former New York quarterback Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers. Getting him into the mix immediately must be a priority.

San Francisco 49ers hopeful Trey Lance deal gets done soon

San Francisco 49ers' confirmed interest in Matthew Stafford cranks up heat on Trey Lance
May 14, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) works on his passing during the first day of a rookie minicamp at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

“We’re sure hopeful that he does (gets signed soon),” 49ers general manager John Lynch said of Lance recently. “Sometimes these things — I just look at our history since we’ve been here. We’ve never had a holdout. It always seems to go down to the wire. It’s important that he is here. I think for any rookie, for every player, every rep counts, every meeting counts, but in particular at that position. So we’re hopeful and expecting that Trey will be here and certainly know the importance of him being here.”

All of this comes after 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan noted earlier on Tuesday that there’s going to be no quarterback competition in camp. Jimmy Garoppolo remains QB1 after offseason filled with trade rumors.

Even then, Shanahan’s offense is among the most complex in the entire NFL. Lance is a small-school product from North Dakota State. San Francisco also traded up to the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft for the quarterback. They need him in, stat.

It’s going to be interesting to see what comes of these situations. I’d expect both Zach Wilson and Trey Lance to sign on the dotted line here soon.

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