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Jets will keep Zach Wilson if team cannot find trade partner for quarterback, owner says

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Zach Wilson’s time with the New York Jets seemed to be coming to an end last month when the organization granted him permission to seek a trade. However, owner Woody Johnson told reporters this week that there is a possibility that the 2021 first round draft pick stays on. 

Speaking to the media at the NFL owners meetings on Monday, Johnson explained that Wilson would remain with the Jets if they are unable to find a trade partner. 

“If we don’t trade him, we’re going to keep him,” Johnson said, adding that it’s “possible” Wilson can still learn from Aaron Rodgers in the upcoming season. 

“I feel badly about Zach in some ways because last year it would’ve been a great – it would’ve been the first time he could just sit back and watch a master at work, and he’s never had that,” Johnson added. 

“He’s been in the fire from Day 1, and I think that’s what he needs. He needs to be in a place where he can observe for a while. He’s got the skill. He can do everything. There’s a reason we drafted him at No. 2 overall, and I have confidence that he’ll get there at some point.”

Johnson admitted, however, that it would be “better” for Wilson to move on. 

Zach Wilson looks on


“From his standpoint, it’s probably better if he changes faces, gets to a new place, and he can wipe the slate clean. I think that would probably be better for him.” 

During last month’s NFL Honors, Johnson appeared to take aim at Wilson while discussing the quarterback position and the team’s offensive struggles. On Monday, he appeared to clarify those comments, saying that blame is not solely on the quarterback. 

“Quarterback is only one player. The Quarterback – Zach included – can’t play if he doesn’t have a line, and without a line it’s hard to run the ball, it’s hard to protect the quarterback. So it’s not just the quarterback. I’ve got to have cooperation from everybody.”

Wilson’s turbulent three-year tenure with the Jets could be coming to an end. After being drafted second overall out of BYU, Wilson has struggled through multiple benchings, thrown more interceptions (25) than touchdowns (23), and is 12-21 as a starting quarterback. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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