Report: Jets trade Zach Wilson to Broncos

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) looks down at the field during an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec 17, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

After months of speculation, Zach Wilson is on the move.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Monday that the New York Jets have traded their former No. 2 overall pick to the Denver Broncos just three days before the 2024 NFL draft.

“The deal includes a late-round pick swap (6th for a 7th) and (the Jets) will cover some of Wilson’s roughly $5.5 million salary,” Rapoport reported.

Multiple reports indicate that the Broncos acquired Wilson and the No. 256 overall selection (a seventh-rounder) in the trade in exchange for sending the No. 203 overall pick (a sixth-rounder) to the Jets.

What other quarterbacks does Denver have on its roster?

Denver released nine-time Pro Bowler and longtime Seattle Seahawk Russell Wilson in March after he spent the past two seasons as the Broncos’ starting quarterback. Russell Wilson proceeded to sign with the Steelers, leaving the Broncos searching for a new starter at the position.

With Zach Wilson’s addition, Denver now has three quarterbacks on its roster, including a pair of little-used veteran quarterbacks.

Jarrett Stidham was a fourth-round draft pick by New England in 2019 and has spent time with the Patriots, Las Vegas Raiders and Broncos. He started the final two games of last season for Denver after Russell Wilson was benched and threw for 496 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Stidham has started four games in his career — and has a 1-3 record in those games — while throwing for 1,422 yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Ben DiNucci was a member of the Broncos practice squad last season. He was a seventh-round selection by Dallas in 2020 and played in three games, starting one, for the Cowboys that year, when he threw for 219 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions.

What about the 2024 NFL draft?

Because Russell Wilson was just two years into his five-year, $245 million contract extension with Denver when he was released, the Broncos are financially strapped in the 2024 season. They will owe the 35-year-old Russell Wilson $37.79 million for the upcoming season, according to CBS Sports.

In part because of the former Seahawks star’s quick falling out in Denver, the Broncos have been linked to selecting a quarterback in the first round of this year’s NFL draft by several analysts.

The Broncos own the No. 12 overall pick in the first round.

Two names that have been associated with Denver are Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.

Several mock drafts have also projected that the Broncos could trade down in the first round, acquire additional draft picks and still get one of their top QB choices, given that prospects like USC’s Caleb Williams, LSU’s Jayden Daniels, North Carolina’s Drake Maye and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy are expected to be off the board before Denver’s pick at No. 12.

The Broncos also own the No. 76 overall pick in the third round and the No. 121 overall pick in the fourth, along with three fifth-rounders, a sixth-rounder and a seventh-round selection, after the Zach Wilson trade, according to ESPN.

What happened with Zach Wilson and the New York Jets?

How Zach Wilson will fit into Denver’s plans will be determined in the coming months, as the 2024 season approaches.

One thing is for certain, though: Wilson’s fallout with the Jets organization has been a long time coming, after the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft fell out of favor in New York amid mounting struggles.

The former BYU and Corner Canyon High quarterback started 24 games over his first two seasons and threw for 4,022 yards, 15 touchdowns and 18 interceptions while eventually getting benched late in his sophomore season.

He was expected to sit last year and learn behind veteran All-Pro Aaron Rodgers — a reset of Wilson’s career essentially — but Rodgers was hurt just four plays into the season and Wilson was again thrown into the spotlight for New York.

Even while completing a career-best 60.1% of his passes, Wilson still failed to ignite the Jets offense while throwing for 2,271 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions while again being benched for far less high-profile quarterbacks.

That led to the saga where the Jets openly let it be known they were shopping Wilson and even allowed the fourth-year quarterback — who’s in the final year of his rookie contract — to seek a trade.

How does the trade impact both the Broncos and Jets financially?

Wilson is due $5.5 million this year, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the teams will split that salary — the Jets will pay $2.75 million, and the Broncos will pay $2.75 million.

New York will also take on $8.4 million of dead cap in 2024, according to Spotrac.

It’s not expected that Zach Wilson will receive his fifth-year option, worth $22.4 million, per Spotrac.