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NFL coach: I’d trade ‘2-week stay at Best Western’ for Zach Wilson

Zach Wilson
Zach Wilson

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson isn’t exactly a hot commodity on the NFL trade block

After three disappointing seasons, quarterback Zach Wilson‘s time with the New York Jets seems to be nearing its end. It was only a matter of time following Wilson’s Week 11 benching against the Buffalo Bills in a 32-6 loss, his second benching in as many seasons.

The Jets appear eager to trade Wilson after drafting him second overall in 2021. However, it takes two to tango. And according to some reports, it may be hard for the Jets to find a trade partner.

ESPN’s Rich Cimini provided some insight this morning on what Wilson’s value would be in a trade. ESPN asked three personnel executives, two assistant coaches, and one scout for their thoughts. The reviews weren’t encouraging for the Jets front office.

One assistant coach even went as far as saying, “I’d give up a two-week stay at a Best Western. I’m not a fan.” Another scout said the Jets could get a seventh-round pick “if they’re lucky.”

The responses generally suggested the Jets could receive a sixth or seventh-round pick for Wilson, or possibly a swap of middle-round picks. One executive suggested they could get more value by making the pick conditional on the percentage of snaps played in 2024.

Overall, the results were grim for the Jets.

How do historical quarterback trades compare?

There are two ways to look at past quarterback trades that impact Wilson’s value. Do prospective teams view him as a former first-round pick? Or simply one of the 32 backup quarterbacks in the NFL?

If he’s viewed as a former first-round pick that can be mended, the Jets could get good value for him. Trey Lance, Sam Darnold, and Josh Rosen are recent first-round picks who were traded before the end of their rookie deal.

Trey Lance was traded for a fourth-round pick, Sam Darnold was traded for a second and fourth-round pick, and Josh Rosen was traded for a late second-round pick.

Unfortunately, all of these quarterbacks had more trade value than Wilson currently does. Darnold was not nearly as bad over his first three years as Wilson. Lance (4 starts) and Rosen (13 starts) were traded with minimal experience under their belt while Wilson has already played 34 games.

As one personnel executive told ESPN, the Jets would have to hope they can find a team that was high on Wilson pre-draft. “Perhaps a team out there felt stronger about him pre-draft, and that could influence how they value him,” they said.

Once you remove Wilson’s draft pedigree, his trade stock plummets. Josh Dobbs and Gardner Minshew are two fair comparisons. Minshew was traded from Jacksonville to Philadelphia in 2021 for a sixth-round pick. Dobbs was traded from Arizona to Minnesota this past October for a pick swap (sixth-rounder for a conditional seventh-rounder that could upgrade to a sixth-rounder based on playing time). Still, both players arguably had more success than Wilson.

Without his draft status, Wilson is simply an athletic player who has been one of the league’s worst quarterbacks in the last three seasons.

Time will tell what the Jets can get for Wilson, if anything. Joe Douglas has done an excellent job of getting high returns on low-value assets. Can he do it again with his chosen savior?

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