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Why Jets’ Zach Wilson trade dilemma could reach uncomfortable end

The Zach Wilson trade market may not be as active as a slug colony.

The Jets had hoped to move Wilson this offseason, but the outlook is bleak after seeing teams trade other quarterbacks in the 2021 draft class for $1.

After Wilson, the Patriots sent Mac Jones, the 13th pick after Wilson, to the Jaguars for a sixth-round pick in 2024.

The Bears traded 2021 No. 11 overall pick Justin Fields to the Steelers, receiving only a conditional sixth-round pick in 2025 that could be taken to No. 4 depending on playing time.

So what does that mean for Wilson?

The Jets haven’t been able to trade Zach Wilson. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

You can definitely argue that Jones and Fields show more promise than Wilson.

Jones became a Pro Bowler in 2021, but things went south in New England after Josh McDaniels left as offensive coordinator.

Fields rushed for 2,220 yards and threw for 6,674 yards. He has shown flashes of appealing athleticism, but they didn’t work together much in Chicago until the addition of DJ Moore last year.

Wilson has played a lot over three seasons, but only had a few good games. He threw 25 interceptions and 23 touchdowns, but his pass completion rate was only 57 percent.

He has also had off-field incidents that have made him look bad as a teammate.

He can start in 2022 in New England, where he failed to take responsibility for a 10-3 loss to the Patriots. As a result, he was placed on the bench in place of Mike White.

Last season, he was reluctant to take over as the starter again in December after being benched to replace Tim Boyle the month before.

The Jets have been preparing to move on from Wilson for some time. They thought they could get him as a third-day pick in this year’s draft, but that seems unlikely at this point.

The Jets want to move on from Zach Wilson, but have not yet found a trade partner. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

The Jets gave his agent permission to search for a trade partner shortly after the season ended, but there have been no reports or rumors of any interest.

There has been a lot of movement through trade and free agency, and there are very few openings left.

In addition to the trade for Wilson’s 2021 draft mate, three players from the 2022 draft class were traded: Kenny Pickett to the Eagles, Desmond Ridder to the Cardinals, and Sam Howell to the Seahawks.

That means the team viewed those players as better options than Wilson.

The Bears acquired a conditional sixth-round pick from the Steelers for Justin Fields, which bodes poorly for the Jets as they look to trade Zach Wilson. Getty Images

Looking at the current strength chart, one would expect the Bears, Commanders and Patriots to be certain to select a quarterback with the first three picks in next month’s draft.

As for reserves, the Ravens (Josh Johnson), Broncos (Jarrett Stidham/Ben DiNucci), Chiefs (Chris Oladukon) and 49ers (Brandon Allen) could all be looking to upgrade.

The Jets may have to give Wilson a draft pick to acquire him. Could they trade Wilson and a sixth-round pick for a fifth-round pick? perhaps.

The next critical moment for the Jets is next month’s draft. If the team doesn’t get the quarterback they’re looking for, the Jets could likely take Wilson with a 2025 draft pick.

Aaron Rodgers (left) and Zach Wilson (right) Corey Shipkin of the New York Post

If the Jets don’t move Wilson during the draft, it will be time to consider releasing him.

The Jets don’t want to cut Wilson and get anything in return, but they may not have a choice.

If they waive him, they will take on $11.2 million in dead money on the salary cap.

By trading him, they reduced their dead money to $5.7 million.

But more important to owner Woody Johnson than hitting the cap may be the cash Wilson owes.

He is guaranteed $5.5 million in the final year of his rookie contract.

Paying not to play for the Jets will be a tough pill for Johnson to swallow.

I’m sure the Jets don’t want Wilson back in the locker room after how last year ended.

But how long are they going to keep him on the roster? Will he continue in OTAs? Training camp?

This will be a difficult trade for general manager Joe Douglas.