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Broncos trade for Jets QB Zach Wilson: The move, explained

The Broncos bring in the 24-year-old Wilson at next to no cost.
Posted at 1:11 PM, Apr 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-23 18:29:48-04

DENVER — The Denver Broncos have acquired quarterback Zach Wilson from the New York Jets, the team announced Tuesday.

As part of the deal, Denver will swap a sixth-round draft pick for New York’s seventh-round selection. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports the Jets will also foot the bill for part of Wilson’s 2024-25 salary. He is owed $5.453 million next year as part of the 4-year, $35 million contract he signed with the Jets after being drafted second overall in 2021.

Wilson, a product of BYU, has not lived up to the hype as a top pick in the draft three years ago. He logged a 12-21 record as the starter in New York and was benched each of the last two seasons.

Why the heck did the Broncos trade for Zach Wilson?

In 2023, he started 11 games and played in 12 after Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles in the Jets’ opener. Wilson finished 30th in the NFL in passer rating among qualified quarterbacks last season.

In the two seasons prior, Wilson became the first player in NFL history to record the league’s worst passer rating in back-to-back years, according to Sports Illustrated.

So, the question you may find yourself asking is: Why??

For the Broncos, the move brings a 24-year-old quarterback into the fold – with two years left on his rookie deal – at next to no cost. The team wanted to bring in another veteran quarterback to compete with Jarrett Stidham and any rookie the team might bring in. Wilson offers a low-risk way to accomplish it.

The trade comes amid speculation over what it will do with the No. 12 overall pick in Thursday’s NFL Draft. In a deep quarterback class, many believe drafting a signal caller with their top pick is a possibility. Denver7 sports director Lionel Bienvenu said the Wilson acquisition will not prevent the Broncos from drafting a quarterback, if one they like is on the board.

ESPN insiders Denver7 spoke to Monday believe Bo Nix will be the Broncos' selection if he's there at No. 12.

GM George Paton has said the team has evaluated "seven or eight" quarterbacks it believes are of NFL caliber.