Should New York Jets Trade Zach Wilson For San Francisco 49ers QB Trey Lance

Should New York Jets Trade Zach Wilson For San Francisco 49ers QB Trey Lance

Just under two years ago quarterbacks Zach Wilson and Trey Lance were the talk of the 2021 NFL draft.

Maybe that’s why Bill Parcells used to say, “Two years in the NFL is a lifetime.”

So it was then and so it is now, as both of these star-crossed beacons need a change of venue.

Wilson, because he has produced more drama off the field than production on the field.

There are a few things with Lance including poor performance, a nagging injury and being replaced as the future in San Francisco by “Mr. Irrelevant,” quarterback Brock Purdy.

That being said, “Broadway Zach” was in the news a lot this past season, seemingly focused on everything but football.

“Everybody wants the big job in New York until they get it,” is another Parcells quote that comes to mind when I think of Wilson.

Before the draft, I never believed the Big Apple was a good fit for Wilson. In fact, it was the worst fit imaginable. Wilson came across as a soft-spoken kid with a high sense of entitlement who wouldn’t fly in a town where thick skin and charisma are required dress codes for quarterbacks.

My first impression of Lance in college was, “a poor man’s Donovan McNabb,” and these were some of my pre-draft words about him:

The film clearly shows possible UFA [undraftable free agent], practice squad, scout team type of prospect, no upside. The classic overpowered player that puts stats at a lower level than the competition, but don’t let that fool you. Lance will shine at a pro day, where teams will over-inflate his value as he runs in non-football conditions. The film clearly shows his struggles in a number of areas. He lacks confidence. It is absolutely absurd that he is even in first round draft discussions. Lance is the most overrated prospect in my 40 years of watching football.

Neither Wilson nor Lance would be on my first-round draft board if I were GM of either team, but that’s not about me. It’s Wilson, Lance, Jets coach Robert Saleh and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

The plot thickens.


Saleh and Shanahan are two old friends who worked together in San Francisco, and people knowing each other is how business is done in the National Football League.

Both have serious issues after selecting centre-backs who haven’t panned out and should be removed from these decisions.

If taking Wilson No. 2 overall in the 2021 draft wasn’t bad enough, the 49ers gave up three number one picks to move up for Lance.

Unlike the Jets’ wish list of accomplished veteran quarterbacks who could be available this offseason via trade or free agency, they all come at a steep price for a Jets team with a projected cap space of 7,945,955 dollars.

With so little cap space to spare, that would likely prompt New York to go with a low-budget veteran option, draft a rookie, or trade for a quarterback who is under a lower-cost rookie deal. effective (as Lance).

While chatter suggests the possibility of New York clearing cap space by cutting some of their veterans, it won’t because Jets general manager Joe Douglas has built what amounts to a tower of heavy Legos.

There are only five total players back under contract for 2023 (and four of those are on the injured list — the other 13 who were with the team in 2022 are free agents). There are a total of 26 free agents and only 45 players on the roster. list currently under contract for 2023.
Jets star defensive tackle Quinnen Williams wants a new deal through April (which could be around $20-31 million per season). His brother, linebacker Quincy Williams, the team’s second-leading tackler, is also an unrestricted free agent. He won’t be free either in light of Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith’s recent record five-year, $100 million deal. Only the Williams brothers can eat up any cap room the team can scrape together by making additional cuts at positions that will still need to be filled.

None of the above three talking points remotely give a shot to a conversation about the Jets being able to acquire an accomplished veteran quarterback this offseason.

However, this brings us back to the very real possibility of two old friends making a deal involving Wilson and Lance for two teams going in different directions.


Follow Daniel Kelly on Twitter (@danielkellybook). Be sure to bookmark Jets Country and check back daily for news, analysis and more.

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