Former Jets franchise player labels recent trade as ‘bittersweet’ moment

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) drops back to pass during the first half against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Wilson is no longer with the New York Jets after a divorce from the team that was anything but smooth. No matter, Wilson valued his time in New York, as he divulged in recent comments made during OTA’s with his new franchise, the Denver Broncos.

Jets: Former QB Zach Wilson “grateful” for his three years in New York

zach wilson, jets

Per Parker Gabriel of The Denver Post, the 24-year-old quarterback had this to say about being dealt from the Jets to the Broncos and how he’s approaching the new situation in front of him (h/t Richie Whitt of Fan Nation’s Jets Country):

“Obviously, there’s bittersweet moments in everything,” Wilson said. “I was grateful for my experiences (in New York) and the guys. I miss the guys out there and everything, too. But at the same time, a fresh start is good. I’m excited to attack a new challenge.”

The Jets were banking on Wilson to be a franchise-caliber QB, but things did not pan out quite as either party had expected. In three seasons in New York, their 2021 No. 2 overall pick completed 57 percent of his passes with a negative 23-25 TD-INT ratio while leading the Jets to 12 wins and 21 losses.

When given the chance to make a case to be the fixed backup behind superstar QB Aaron Rodgers after the four-time NFL MVP went down with a torn Achilles in Week 1 of 2023, Wilson had good moments. They were headlined by his AFC Offensive Player of the Week award for leading the Jets to a 30-6 win over the Houston Texans in Week 14 behind 301 passing yards and two passing TDs on 27-36 passing.

Wilson is looking to turn a corner in his tenure with the Broncos

However, Wilson had poor showings that neutralized the impression he wound up leaving on the coaching staff. Given that his AFC Offensive Player of the Week body of work was only the first time he’d thrown for multiple touchdowns in 11 games played to that point, he left quite a bit to be desired throughout the year.

That contributed to Jets owner Woody Johnson throwing major shade at him at the end of the year, saying “You need a backup quarterback” and “We didn’t have one last year” when appraising his roster. The end of Wilson’s tenure with the Jets saw him get swapped in and out of the starting lineup and made openly available before the offseason commenced.

He’s now on a Broncos team that said goodbye to QB Russell Wilson this offseason and drafted standout Oregon QB Bo Nix with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Wilson is listed as the Broncos’ third-string quarterback behind Nix and Jarrett Stidham, so he may not see ample playing time in the short term as he did in New York.

Nonetheless, the Utah native is focused on being “consistent every day.” His head coach Sean Payton has raved about how he’s picked up the offense pretty quickly and showcased his “very live arm strength,” so Wilson could be in line to see time on the field should Nix be sidelined at all in 2024.

Wilson will make his return to MetLife Stadium when the Broncos take on the Jets on Sept. 29.

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