3 teams desperate enough to trade for Jets draft bust Zach Wilson

The New York Jets have granted Zach Wilson permission to seek a trade.

Zach Wilson, New York Jets
Zach Wilson, New York Jets / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages
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The New York Jets have officially granted Zach Wilson and his agent permission to seek a trade, per GM Joe Douglas.

We can chalk this announcement up to pure ceremony. We all knew Wilson was about to hit the trade block after another disastrous season as the Jets' QB1. With Aaron Rodgers set to finally take the reins in 2024, Wilson will hope for a fresh start away from the harsh New York spotlight.

On one hand, Wilson is the most hated figure in New York sports right now. That is a real accomplishment. On the other hand, he was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. At 24 years old, there is still upside tied to an athletic 6-foot-2 quarterback with Wilson's blend of mobility and arm strength. It's only upside, frankly, and there's a decent chance Wilson will never cut it at the NFL level. But, as far as bargain-bin purchases go, there are worse backup QB options out there.

Wilson actually showed signs of growth last season. No, really! He completed more touchdowns (8) than interceptions (7). Baby steps, but still, it's progress. He completed 60.1 percent of his passes, by far a career-high. He even notched a career-best 211 yards on the ground.

He still comes with more than his share of red flags, of course. The decision-making is a roller coaster game to game. Wilson took way too many sacks last season (46), he forces it into tight windows more often than he should, and the long-range bombs tend to yield mixed results. Wilson has arm talent in spades, but until he hones in that talent, it won't mean much.

These teams can justify at least kicking the tires on Wilson. There were genuinely good moments last season, lost amid the disappointment of losing Rodgers so quickly. We shouldn't completely close to the book on Wilson's NFL career. Maybe I'm too nice, but here we go...

3. Denver Broncos

Uhhhhhh... are the Denver Broncos really going to start next season with Jarrett Stidham as the starting QB? He is the odds-on favorite right now, which is a concern. Russell Wilson has one foot out the door because the Broncos are actively pushing him. Drafting J.J. McCarthy sounds nice in theory, but at No. 12, it's probably a stretch. Sean Payton loves the kid according to reports, but maybe it's all an elaborate smokescreen to drum up trade interest.

If the Broncos don't land their QB1 through the draft, their options dwindle quickly. Kirk Cousins is 35 years old and there will be competition. Baker Mayfield is probably re-signing with Tampa Bay. From there, it's Mason Rudolph, Gardner Minshew, or what, Ryan Tannehill? The choices become pretty dire, pretty fast.

So, there's a world in which the Broncos qualify as "desperate enough" to engage New York on the Zach Wilson front. Assuming the going rate for Wilson is a fifth or sixth-round pick, that's a bargain. Wilson carries far more upside than your standard late-round QB. The Broncos would be taking a step back, make no mistake about it, but Wilson at least establishes some competition for Stidham in training camp.

Last season's Denver team was better than the record suggested. It would be better to keep Russell Wilson around, but if Denver wants to get cheap and lean on Zach Wilson for a gap year, it could be worse. Truly, it could. There's far less pressure on Wilson's shoulders in Denver. We shouldn't necessarily buy into the whole "playing in New York is different" narrative, but the work environment for Wilson has gotten rather toxic. He deserves a fresh start and one last bite at the proverbial apple.