Jets To Trade QB Zach Wilson To Broncos

Zach Wilson‘s time in New York is set to come to an end. The Jets have found a trade partner for the former No. 2 pick in the form of the Broncos.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports the Jets will send Wilson to Denver as part of a Day 3 pick swap. The teams will exchange sixth- and seventh-round picks, with New York acquiring No. 203 and the Broncos adding Wilson and No. 256. Both clubs will evenly split Wilson’s $5.45MM in 2024 compensation, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Dianna Russini of The Athletic notes this agreement has been in the works “for weeks.” The Broncos have long been linked to a quarterback addition this offseason, with Russell Wilson unsurprisingly being released. That move left a vacancy under center, but in the lead-in to the draft Jarrett Stidham was in place atop the depth chart. That will remain the case for the time being, but Wilson represents a young depth option for Denver. One year remains on the latter’s rookie contract.

Having failed to secure a long-term answer under center with Sam Darnold, the Jets selected Wilson second overall in 2021. That made him one of five first-round QBs that year, but only one (Trevor Lawrence) is still with his original team. Wilson – who logged 33 starts in three seasons as a Jet – joins Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones in having been dealt at a fraction of the cost relative to the draft capital used in their selection.

Following a rookie season in which Wilson struggled with accuracy and turnovers, he did not progress as hoped in Year 2. The 24-year-old was limited to nine contests in 2022 and saw Mike White take over as New York’s starter. That led to an aggressive pursuit of Aaron Rodgers last offseason, and while his Achilles tear prompted Wilson to once again see game action, things did not go as planned. Wilson in particular and the Jets’ offense as a whole struggled mightily.

As a result, it came as no surprise when the BYU alum was given permission to seek out a trade partner. Wilson’s cap charge ($11.1MM) and poor play hindered his value, and as expected the Jets have needed to attach draft capital to him to land a pick in return. Considering the gap between when New York began fielding offers and today’s agreement being reached, this marks a miniscule (but nevertheless expected) price from the Jets’ perspective.

New York has Rodgers and veteran backup Tyrod Taylor on the books, but the team could use the upcoming draft to add a developmental third option. Denver, meanwhile, will add Wilson to a depth chart featuring Stidham and Ben DiNucci. The lack of proven passers has led to considerable speculation tying the Broncos to an aggressive trade up the board for a first-round quarterback. Head coach Sean Payton himself is believed to be on board with such a move.

This deal has not tangibly taken away the draft capital which would be needed for Denver to move into the top five or top 10 in the first-round order. With Wilson in place, though, Payton has a depth signal-caller to work with for at least the 2024 campaign. Where Wilson slots on the Broncos’ depth chart following the draft – and as such the opportunities for playing time he receives in the Mile High City – will be interesting to watch.

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