Jets Gm Joe Douglas Calls Qb Zach Wilson An 'aSset.' But The Team Remains Open To Trading Him

A new New York Jets' helmet sits on a table at the team's facility in Florham Park, N.J., Friday, April 19, 2024. The helmet is part of the Jets' new uniforms that will be worn this season. (AP Photo/Dennis Waszak Jr.)
A new New York Jets' helmet sits on a table at the team's facility in Florham Park, N.J., Friday, April 19, 2024. The helmet is part of the Jets' new uniforms that will be worn this season. (AP Photo/Dennis Waszak Jr.)
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Zach Wilson remains a member of the New York Jets. For now, at least.

General manager Joe Douglas was non-committal on the future of the quarterback, who received permission by the Jets during the offseason to seek a trade after a disappointing three years since being the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft.

“Zach is an asset and at that same time we’re obviously open to trading Zach,” Douglas said Thursday during his annual predraft news conference. “There have been discussions.”

Douglas said the 24-year-old Wilson was not present — as he usually has been — at the team’s facility this week as voluntary offseason workouts began.

“There’s quite a few players that haven’t come for the first week,” Douglas said. “So, look, that’s a decision for Zach to make if he wants to be here.”

Douglas acknowledged at the NFL combine in Indianapolis in February the team told Wilson's agent he could gauge the trade market. Douglas reiterated that last month at the league meetings in Orlando, Florida, where owner Woody Johnson added the Jets wouldn't just release Wilson if New York couldn't find a trade partner.

“Nothing’s really changed since we talked down in Florida,” Douglas said. “But we’re open to trading him. There’s just no news to report on that.”

Aaron Rodgers is among the players at the facility after the 40-year-old quarterback was sidelined for the season with a torn left Achilles tendon just four snaps into his debut with the Jets. Rodgers is healthy and throwing passes on the field.

“Oh, it’s great,” Douglas said. “Just for him to come back now, early, just his presence.”

Rodgers is expected to start Week 1 for the Jets, who signed veteran Tyrod Taylor to serve as his backup. That would leave Wilson in the No. 3 spot, for now.

“I mean, look, we’re still in April,” Douglas said when asked if Wilson returning to the team remains possible. “I mean, training camp’s months away. So I think there’s a chance for a lot of different things. I’m not going to get into what’s going to happen.”

Wilson showed some flashes during his three years of the playmaking ability that made the Jets covet him in 2021 out of BYU. But Wilson mostly struggled with consistency and there have been questions as to whether he can be a legitimate NFL starter.

Wilson has thrown 23 touchdown passes with 25 interceptions in 34 games, including 33 starts. But his 57% completion percentage and 73.2 passer rating are among the league's worst during that span.

While that could be alarming to some potential trade partners, they could also be wary of the $5.45 million Wilson is guaranteed this season on his rookie contract. The Jets might have to pay at least a good chunk of that for a team to consider a deal. New York also must consider that cutting Wilson would result in a dead money hit of about $11.2 million on the salary cap.

“That’s the magic trick, so to speak, is to try to make sure that Zach’s in a good spot, but also doing what’s right for the New York Jets,” Douglas said. “That is the line we’re walking, but we have to do what’s right for the ballclub.”

The Jets pick 10th overall in the draft that begins next Thursday night. Douglas said they have “flexibility” at the spot — meaning offensive tackle, tight end and wide receiver could all be in play. Douglas also wouldn't rule out trading the pick.

Getting another young quarterback to sit behind both Rodgers and Taylor might also be under consideration by New York in the mid- to later rounds. Douglas cited the 1990s Green Bay Packers, who had Brett Favre, but still drafted quarterbacks such as Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck and Aaron Brooks, who all developed as backups and went on to have success with other franchises.

“I would love to be a quarterback factory like that,” Douglas said. “I would love to have quarterbacks that we take every year in the draft and even if you hit on two or three like the Packers did, you can really turn those into future picks or they develop into starters elsewhere.”