Why NY Jets QB Zach Wilson is a winner in the eventual Aaron Rodgers trade

NY Jets, Zach Wilson, Aaron Rodgers
NY Jets, Zach Wilson, Aaron Rodgers / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The NY Jets' move to acquire a star veteran QB less than two years after drafting Zach Wilson second overall is an indictment on the team's front office and the player.

The all-on full-court press by the Jets organization to lure Aaron Rodgers out of a darkness retreat and potential retirement had to be difficult for Wilson to witness, but it's not like he didn't know it was coming after things turned extremely sour on him late in 2022.

What had to sting was Wilson's teammates bending over backward to beg Aaron Rodgers to join the Jets on social media.

While the multiple-time MVP and future Hall of Fame quarterback was waiting for his dinner call inside a darkened home, Jets megastar Sauce Gardner, with his teammates on hand, was setting his victory cheesehead ablaze on YouTube as a gesture of goodwill toward a Rodgers arrival.

How the entire Jets franchise and his teammates were publicly "simping" for Rodgers led to Wilson being ridiculed in social media circles. Then Wilson's comments after the 2022 season resurfaced about welcoming a challenge from a veteran QB, adding to even more ridicule.

The whole experience, coupled with the way the 2022 season transpired for Wilson, must be humbling. He's gone from college star to being anointed as a franchise NFL QB to being pushed aside. The descent has happened quickly and in a decided fashion.

Long before the Jets even entered the offseason, after 22 career starts, Wilson's time as a starting quarterback in the NFL was left for dead — and rightfully so.

However, the argument can be made that the Jets' acquisition of Aaron Rodgers is the best thing that could've happened for Wilson's career.

Why Zach Wilson benefits from the NY Jets trading for Aaron Rodgers

Based on all the reports of how supportive Rodgers was of Jordan Love, despite the potential friction created when the Packers drafted Rodgers' replacement, the arrival of Rodgers at Florham Park is a good sign for Wilson.

Any other veteran QB pickup by the Jets could've sealed Wilson's fate, not only as a starter but even as a member of the Jets. But Rodgers, in particular, being the one to step in and permanently replace him, could give Wilson new life.

It's no secret that Zach Wilson's idol is Aaron Rodgers. The BYU standout modeled his game after the MVP quarterback. The two have formed a bond over the last few years.

All the talk of how significant the loss of the great Greg Knapp was for Wilson's development and how much the Jets desperately needed a QB guru to come in and save Wilson is now over because who better to teach Wilson how to function as a pro quarterback than the master himself?

Interestingly, one of the most significant flaws against Wilson is his inability to succeed on the NFL level because of poor mechanics. Rodgers, the quarterback he will be learning from, has a history of making plays despite having unconventional technique at times.

Still only 23 years old, Zach Wilson is not a lost cause. From a skill-set standpoint, as a thrower, very few players can make the throws he can — particularly off-platform.

That was even evident in Wilson's uneven performance against the Detroit Lions last season where he threw for over 300 yards and two scores last December. There were plays in that game, specifically late, that showed the dynamic traits the Jets' front office and scouting department fell in love with back during the 2021 draft process.

Although the examples are rare, once upon a time, a young Jets quarterback named Geno Smith was written off and left for dead. The West Virginia standout and now 32-year-old QB came awfully close to washing out of the NFL entirely, but the now Pro Bowl quarterback and Comeback Player of the Year, Smith, told everyone, "I ain't write back though."

Smith now serves as an inspiration to all young quarterbacks that have fallen on hard times, the same way Kurt Warner did over two decades ago.

As it stands right now, Wilson is projected as the Jets' QB2 once the game of chicken between the Jets and Packers ends and Aaron Rodgers officially joins Gang Green.

The team also has fan-favorite Chris Streveler on the roster, and it's certainly possible that Nathaniel Hackett could add a veteran quarterback this offseason.

Maybe former Jets QB Josh Johnson, who has experience working with Hackett, dons the green and white again. Or Joe Douglas could bring back a Joe Flacco type or the man himself for another run.

But if Zach Wilson is indeed the Jets' No. 2 quarterback entering 2023, I can't think of a better spot for him to grow and mature than the one he has now after his idol declared his intentions to become a member of the Jets.

As unfathomable as it seems today, you never know; maybe Aaron Rodgers will step aside for Wilson in a couple of years when the latter is ready, but as QB2 in 2023, he's going to need to get prepared now.

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One thing is sure — Zach Wilson has the right person in the quarterback room to help him take on that challenge.