LOCALS IN THE NFL

Potential NFL Landing Spots For Jets QB Zach Wilson In 2024

Jan 7, 2024, 2:24 PM

Zach-Wilson-New-York-Jets-NFL...

Quarterback Zach Wilson #2 of the New York Jets throws a pass during the third quarter of the NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The writing is on the wall and the ticking clock is nearly up on former BYU star Zach Wilson‘s time as a quarterback for the New York Jets.

Evaluating Zach Wilson’s NFL Future

Following a standout college career at BYU, the Corner Canyon High School product entered the league with lofty expectations after landing in the nation’s top market. After his junior season, the Jets selected Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

However, like many Jets quarterbacks before him, Wilson struggled as a member of Gang Green.

While in Gotham City, the Draper, Utah native showed glimpses of the talent that made him the second pick in the draft after the Jacksonville Jaguars took Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson. Despite the flashes of his elite traits, Wilson also struggled to play well consistently and suffered multiple injuries during his first three NFL seasons. During Years 2 & 3, the Jets benched the former BYU signal-caller a total of three times.

After Wilson’s second season, the Jets traded for the young quarterback’s idol, Aaron Rodgers. The plan for the 2023 season was for Wilson to be Rodgers’ backup and learn from the four-time NFL MVP. However, only minutes into New York’s season opener, Rodgers went down for the season with an Achilles injury and Wilson was thrust back into the role of QB1.

The up-and-down nature of Wilson’s time in New York would likely doom any young quarterback. Wilson showed progress in 2023 and even though he was benched for a third time, the Jets showed that quarterback play wasn’t the team’s only issue.

The traits and talents that made Wilson the No. 2 overall pick are still there, just with a little scar tissue tagging along as baggage now.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh recently said that he believes the former Cougar will have a long NFL career. Saleh also didn’t provide any remarks that would give anyone confidence that Wilson’s career would continue with the team based in Florham Park, New Jersey.

The former No. 2 pick has one year left on his rookie contract and the Jets haven’t decided on the deal’s fifth-year option yet. According to Spotrac, the final year of Wilson’s contract is for $8.7 million and carries a dead cap hit of $11.1 million.

I, like many other people, believe that Wilson’s time with the Jets has come to an end. He suffered a concussion during Week 15 and didn’t play in the final three games of the regular season.

If the Jets move on from Wilson, New York can look to trade him or simply cut him. If Wilson becomes a free agent, the question for him will become, “What do I want to do, sign with a team that has uncertainty at the QB position and potentially earn a starting role in the future? Or should I sign with a team that has a veteran quarterback and learn from them like things were intended to play out with the Jets and Rodgers in 2023?”

Below, I list all 32 NFL teams and what category they are in regarding Wilson’s fit with the organization and the franchise’s current quarterback situation.

Landing Spots For Zach Wilson Next Season

Backup Role Opportunities

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals could move out of this category as a fit for Wilson depending on what they do this offseason. Arizona will have a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft and could select a new signal-caller. Kyler Murray, a very mobile quarterback, is currently Arizona’s starter and is only a few games back after suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2022. Behind Murray is Clayton Tune. Wilson could battle to be Murray’s backup or the Cardinals could drop to the “Don’t See It Happening” category if they draft a rookie QB in April and look to trade Murray.

Buffalo Bills

Like with the Dolphins, Wilson wouldn’t have to worry about being the starter in Buffalo. He could learn from a big, physical, and mobile quarterback in Josh Allen. Behind the MVP candidate is veteran quarterback Kyle Allen.

Detroit Lions

Jaren Goff is the entrenched starter in the Motor City after leading the Lions to their first division title in 30 years. However, the backup job behind Goff is wide open. Teddy Bridgewater is retiring after the season and behind him are Nate Sudfeld and rookie Hendon Hooker.

Green Bay Packers

Former Utah State quarterback Jordan Love proved over the second half of the season that he could fit the shoes that were left empty by Rodgers’ departure to New York. Behind Love, the Packers have only one quarterback on their depth charter, rookie Sean Clifford. Wilson could come in and add to the #LocalsInTheNFL in Green Bay.

Jacksonville Jaguars

It would be an interesting storyline to have Wilson land in Jacksonville as the backup to Lawrence. The former No. 1 pick is joined in the Jaguars’ QB room by C.J. Beathard and Matt Barkley. Wilson could battle for the No. 2 job in Duval County.

Kansas City Chiefs

If you can’t learn from Aaron Rodgers, then sit back and learn from two-time Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes. In addition to backing up Mahomes, Wilson could play for Chiefs head coach and former BYU player and graduate assistant Andy Reid.

Los Angeles Chargers

There is currently uncertainty with the Chargers after they fired Brandon Staley as their head coach. However, Los Angeles could potentially pick up an excellent coach like quarterback guru Jim Harbaugh. Justin Herbert finished the 2023 campaign on injured reserve and backup Easton Stick wasn’t impressive during his time as the team’s starter. Behind Herbert and Stick is Will Grier.

Los Angeles Rams

Matthew Stafford is QB1 for the Rams and is two years removed from winning a Super Bowl. However, the clock is ticking on his NFL career. Los Angeles’ backups are Carson Wentz (who will be a free agent in March) and rookie Stetson Bennett. There is a potential path to playing time in the future, but I put the Rams in the backup category as I think Stafford still has a couple of good years left in him.

Miami Dolphins

In 2022, Tua Tagovailoa’s career was in jeopardy after suffering multiple concussions. However, the former Alabama star has stayed healthy for the most part and led the Dolphins to the playoffs. Like Tagovailoa, Wilson can be a mobile quarterback and I think he would fit as a backup in Mike McDaniel’s system. Miami’s backups are currently Mike White (Wilson’s former backup in New York) and Skylar Thompson.

Philadelphia Eagles

The reigning NFC champions and head coach Nick Sirianni like quarterbacks that eat, drink, and sleep football. Philadelphia is led by Jalen Hurts and he bears the weight of the franchise after signing a massive deal in 2023. Like Hurts, Wilson loves the ins and outs of the game. Wilson could battle for the backup job alongside Marcus Mariota and Tanner McKee.

Potential Path To Playing Time

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons recently benched Desmond Ridder in favor of Taylor Heinicke, a move that came with little upside. Heinicke is more experienced than Ridder but I don’t think he’s a starting quarterback for the majority of teams after showing how turnover-prone he is. Wilson could land in Georgia and battle Heinicke or Ridder for the starting role.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos have uncertainty at quarterback after they benched Russell Wilson and will probably move on from him this offseason. Jarrett Stidham is Sean Payton’s only other quarterback on the roster.

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders don’t know who will be their head coach in 2024 and I don’t think they know who will be their quarterback either. Jimmy Garoppolo was benched after Josh McDaniels was fired. Aidan O’Connell hasn’t lit the world on fire since. Brian Hoyer is Las Vegas’ third-string signal-caller. I could see Wilson landing close to home as a member of the Raiders.

New England Patriots

The Patriots will have a top-10 pick in the draft and will probably look to upgrade their quarterback situation after Mac Jones hasn’t panned out over the last few seasons. Behind Jones is Bailey Zappe and Nathan Rourke. The Patriots could also be under a new head coach if Bill Belichick’s time is up in New England. No matter what happens this offseason, Wilson could come in and battle for the starting role or QB2 job.

Washington Commanders

Washington’s current QB room features Sam Howell, Jacoby Brissett, and Jake Fromm, a group that lost a ton of games in 2023. Wilson could come in and make a case for QB1.

Don’t See It Happening

Carolina Panthers

Current Quarterbacks: Bryce Young, Andy Dalton

Chicago Bears

Current Quarterbacks: Justin Field, Tyson Bagent, Nathan Peterman

Cleveland Browns

Current Quarterbacks: Joe Flacco, Jeff Driskel, PJ Walker, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Deshaun Watson

Houston Texans

Current Quarterbacks: C.J. Stroud, Davis Mills, Case Keenum

Indianapolis Colts

Current Quarterbacks: Anthony Richardson, Gardner Minshew, Sam Ehlinger, Kellen Mond

Minnesota Vikings

Current Quarterbacks: Kirk Cousins, Nick Mullens, Josh Dobbs, Jaren Hall

Pittsburgh Steelers

Current Quarterbacks: Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph

San Francisco 49ers

Current Quarterbacks: Brock Purdy, Sam Darnold, Brandon Allen

Seattle Seahawks

Current Quarterbacks: Geno Smith, Drew Lock

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Current Quarterbacks: Baker Mayfield, Kyle Trask, John Wolford

Tennessee Titans

Current Quarterbacks: Ryan Tannehill, Will Levis, Malik Willis

No Chance

Baltimore Ravens

Current Quarterbacks: Lamar Jackson, Tyler Huntley, Josh Johnson, Malik Cunningham

Cincinnati Bengals

Current Quarterbacks: Joe Burrow, Jake Browning, AJ McCarron

Dallas Cowboys

Current Quarterbacks: Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush, Trey Lance

New Orleans Saints

Current Quarterbacks: Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill, Jake Haener

New York Giants

Current Quarterbacks: Daniel Jones, Tyrod Taylor, Tommy DeVito

New York Jets

Current Quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers, Zach Wilson, Trevor Siemian, Brett Rypien

Zach Wilson in 2023

This season, Wilson threw for 2,271 yards, eight touchdowns, and seven interceptions with a completion percentage of 60.1. He also ran for 211 yards.

The former BYU star missed New York’s final three games and the Jets finished with a 7-10 record.

During his three years in the league, the former BYU star has thrown for 6,293 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 25 interceptions with a 57.0 percent completion rate. He’s added 498 yards and five touchdowns with his legs.

NFL free agency officially begins on March 13.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. He’s also co-host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on Threads (@kyleirelandksl), Instagram (@kyleirelandksl). and X (@kyleireland).

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