Three seasons later, the Jets are expected to move on from Wilson this offseason.
However, who would be interested in acquiring Wilson after a tumultuous three-year stint in New York? What type of return would he net in a trade?
NFL Rumors: Zach Wilson’s trade value is seemingly nonexistent
ESPN’s Rich Cimini, who covers the Jets, contacted three NFL personnel executives, “one scout and two assistant coaches from other teams to gauge [Zach] Wilson’s value.” The responses, albeit underwhelming, are not surprising.
“The consensus is that Wilson could bring back a six- or seventh-round pick (or perhaps a swap of middle-round picks from a team willing to take a chance on him as a backup due to his draft pedigree.”
One of the assistant coaches said: “I’d give up a two-week stay at a Best Western. I’m not a fan.”
That is not quite a ringing endorsement for a player with a cap hit over $11 million for 2024.
If Jets general manager Joe Douglas is willing to part ways with Wilson for a two-week getaway, he should at least try to secure a hotel like the DoubleTree by Hilton.
Alternatively, one anonymous NFL executive proposed the Jets seek a conditional incentive-based 2025 draft pick to maximize their return for Wilson if he resurrects his career elsewhere.
Per Cimini, it’d be both “highly unusual” and “embarrassing” if the Jets ultimately can’t find a suitable trade partner to take on Wilson and decide to release him.
Last season’s offseason blockbuster trade for four-time NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers rendered Wilson useless and hurt his trade value because teams knew the Jets brought the former to be the starter, relegating the latter to the bench.
When Rodgers tore his Achilles four snaps into the 2023 season, Wilson was thrust into the starting lineup after an entire offseason of preparation tailored to Rodgers’ skillset, posting a 4-7 record in 11 starts this year while struggling mightily with accuracy and turnover issues.
As the Jets look to put the Zach Wilson era behind them, it is clear that they will likely have to sell him for pennies on the dollar, at best.