National Football League
Jets reportedly trading former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson to Broncos
National Football League

Jets reportedly trading former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson to Broncos

Updated Apr. 22, 2024 3:43 p.m. ET

The New York Jets are reportedly trading quarterback Zach Wilson to the Denver Broncos, finalizing a long-expected divorce with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Jets are sending Wilson and a seventh-round pick in this week’s 2024 NFL Draft to the Broncos for a sixth-rounder, sources said. The Jets are also covering a portion of Wilson's $5.5 million salary, per NFL Media, which first reported the trade.

It's a long-awaited departure from New York for Wilson, who was expected to be the face of the franchise when he was selected by the Jets out of BYU because of his exceptional athletic ability and knack for making throws on the run from various arm angles. But he struggled mightily in his first two seasons in New York before the Jets acquired Aaron Rodgers to be its starter last offseason.

When Rodgers went down for the season with a torn left Achilles tendon four snaps into his debut, Wilson took over as the starter again — and was unable to play with consistency or effectiveness while showing few signs of improvement from his first two years.


After being benched twice in his second season, Wilson was again sent to the sideline after 10 games. He sat out for two games while Tim Boyle was ineffective in two starts. The Jets turned back to Wilson, who found himself in the headlines when The Athletic reported he was reluctant to step back into his role as the starter because of potential injury concerns. Wilson denied that later in the week and said he was excited to start again.

He returned with perhaps the best performance of his career, going 27 of 36 for 301 yards — his third career game of 300 or more yards — and two touchdowns in New York’s 30-6 victory over Houston. Wilson was selected the AFC offensive player of the week, but suffered a concussion the following week in the first half of the Jets’ 30-0 loss at Miami on Dec. 17.

And he didn’t play again.

Zach Wilson traded to the Broncos for a 6th-round pick

"I thought he had a great OTAs, a great training camp," coach Robert Saleh said late in the season. "I thought he battled. He fought. He’s a fighter, he really is. Obviously there’s things that he wishes he could have back and I know there’s a lot of things he improved on. Some things were out of his control.

"I’ve said it and I’ll say it again: I think he’s going to have a long career in this league."

It won’t be with the Jets, though.

The 40-year-old Rodgers has confirmed he is returning for the 2024 season, and the Jets have been aggressive in free agency at improving their offensive line and wide receiver depth around him. They also signed veteran Tyrod Taylor to back up Rodgers.

General manager Joe Douglas told reporters during the NFL combine in Indianapolis in February that the Jets had given Wilson and his agents permission to seek a trade. Douglas reiterated that last Friday, calling Wilson an "asset" while also saying New York was open to trading him.

And now, Wilson will look to restart his career in Denver.

Wilson went 12-21 in 33 games as a starter, throwing for 6,293 yards and 23 touchdowns with 25 interceptions. He has a 57% career completion percentage and 73.2 passer rating, ranking among the NFL’s worst in both categories in all three of his seasons. Wilson also has five career touchdown runs.

As for the Broncos, Wilson adds a talented option, albeit one with a rough track record, to Sean Peyton's quarterback room after the team released Russell Wilson at the beginning of the offseason. Zach Wilson joins last year's backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham and former Cowboys quarterback Ben DiNucci in the Broncos' quarterback room. Denver also holds the No. 12 overall pick in the first round of Thursday's draft and could look to select a quarterback there or trade up among a loaded class of signal-callers this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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