Week 16 marked the latest underwhelming performance by the Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, and it has invited further speculation that his days in New York are numbered. Reporting from earlier today points to a parting of ways in the near future.
According to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, the Jets can be expected to move on from the former No. 2 overall pick this offseason (video link). That would represent a disastrous end to his tenure in the Big Apple given his draft stock, but not much of a surprise considering his struggles in 2022 in particular. Wilson made his second consecutive start on Thursday, a game in which he totaled 92 scoreless passing yards on 9-of-18 passing with an interception.
That performance led to Chris Streveler taking over under center for the remainder of the game. Glazer notes that Wilson’s confidence was shot before the contest, and it took a significant hit after what transpired in the Jets’ loss to the Jaguars. The game dropped New York to 7-8 on the season, and leaves them with a long road back into the postseason after an encouraging start to the campaign.
2022 began, of course, with veteran Joe Flacco operating as the starter for the first three weeks as Wilson recovered from knee surgery. The latter has not taken the Year 2 jump many were expecting after his promising college career at BYU and a number of moves the team made this past offseason which provided upgrades at the skill positions and along the offensive line. The unit has seen more success with Mike White at the helm, but his fractured ribs necessitated the return to Wilson – something head coach Robert Saleh had previously stated would take place at some point. Glazer adds that White will start next week if he is able to do so.
Wilson, 23, still has two years remaining on his rookie contract – with the potential of a fifth-year option being tacked on next spring. His scheduled cap hits for 2023 and 2024 are $9.5MM and $11.1MM, respectively. While that would make him a highly cost-effective starter for any potential acquiring team, the far more likely scenario would be a change of scenery resulting in time spent as a backup.
Should Wilson be traded away, New York would also need to begin yet another search for a long-term quarterback. 2018 first-rounder Sam Darnold was tapped for that role, but the deal sending him to Carolina opened the door for Wilson to be drafted. Another trade sending a high-profile signal-caller elsewhere would mark a significant blow to the prospects for a franchise which has otherwise shown signs of improvement this year.