Zach Wilson trade notes: Jets trade QB to Broncos days before 2024 NFL Draft

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Almost exactly three years after selecting him No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New York Jets are officially parting ways with quarterback Zach Wilson, trading the much-maligned signal-caller to the Denver Broncos, CBS Sports Lead NFL Insider Jonathan Jones confirms.

Wilson, 24, had been on the market since the start of the 2024 offseason, with general manager Joe Douglas openly indicating the team would look to move the former first-rounder. Now he’s headed to Denver with a 2024 seventh-round pick in exchange for a 2024 sixth-round pick, according to NFL Mediawith both sides agreeing to split Wilson’s guaranteed bonus for training camp.

The Broncos were in dire need of quarterback reinforcements, releasing veteran starter Russell Wilson before free agency and approaching the draft with Jarrett Stidham atop the depth chart. Denver could still be looking for an initial investment at the position in the 2024 draft, owning the No. 12 overall pick.

The Jets, meanwhile, effectively marked the end of Wilson’s career by signing journeyman Tyrod Taylor to become Aaron Rodgers’ top backup earlier this offseason. Rodgers was acquired from the Green Bay Packers last offseason, replacing Wilson after just two seasons with the BYU product under center. And even though Rodgers missed most of 2023 with a torn Achilles, Wilson would later be demoted to backup.

Well-regarded for his off-script athleticism coming out of college, Wilson struggled to find rhythm as a starter with the Jets, completing just 57 percent of his passes, with 23 touchdowns and 25 interceptions, on 34 matches in total. In Denver, he is tentatively expected to compete with Stidham for the top job, although the Broncos’ upcoming decisions in the draft could affect his place in the pecking order.

Here’s how we’d rate the Wilson trade at this point:

Broncos: C+

Look, trading late players doesn’t yield much, so as a low-risk, high-upside bet, there’s not much to criticize here. Denver needed quarterback help in the worst way, and while Wilson projects more as a developmental reserve, he at least adds theoretical upside to a mostly barren room. But if this move somehow moves them away from finding a true long-term answer in the 2024 draft, then we’ll have bigger problems. Maybe Sean Payton can squeeze some juice out of Wilson’s lively but erratic arm, but then again, maybe they also should have paid that price — or more — for a more proven castoff like Justin Fields.

Throws: D+

They weren’t going to go back to Wilson, and everyone was anticipating his eventual exit, a la Mac Jones and Sam Howell earlier this offseason. So getting literally anything in return is a “win”. Yet, on these transactions, the trading team can hardly be credited. That’s two straight quarterbacks that the Jets have drafted in the top three and then dumped three years later. Is this a case of two bitter flaggers, or one embittered organization? Probably a little of both, but either way, New York just needs Aaron Rodgers so they can forget about it all.



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