Robert Saleh hints NY Jets may be open to Zach Wilson trade

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By: Michael Nania

Robert Saleh subtly hints at New York Jets’ willingness to trade Zach Wilson

Robert Saleh‘s Thursday press conference included plenty of interesting tidbits, specifically surrounding the quarterback position. Saleh not only commented on Derek Carr, but also had some fascinating responses about Zach Wilson and Mike White.

When asked about Wilson’s future with the New York Jets, specifically two years down the road, Saleh seemed to leave the door open for a potential trade.

“You can’t look at it that way. You guys know me, it’s stay in the moment and try to do everything we can to help everyone get better and be the best version of themselves we can be,” Saleh said. “Whether we bring in a guy who’s in his early thirties and you know he’s going to be here for a while, the focus is to just help [Wilson] get better as best as he can, and if his best gets to be showcased here as a New York Jet, awesome. If not, it’s still awesome, because all we want is what’s best for him and his development, no different than any other player on our roster.”

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Saleh also talked about free-agent-to-be Mike White. It sounded like Saleh and the Jets want to have him back. Of White, Saleh said, “he should be on this roster.”

It will be interesting to see whether the Jets can manage to fit White onto their roster, as they already figure to be committing a lot of money to the quarterback position. The Jets are likely to reel in a big-money veteran such as Derek Carr or Aaron Rodgers to be their starter. Behind the starter will be Zach Wilson, whose $9.6 million cap hit is quite expensive for a backup quarterback. With all of that money already on the books, would it be wise for the Jets to cram White into the mix?

As per usual, it all depends on how much White costs. Looking at the 2022 free agent quarterback market, the contracts signed by Geno Smith (one year, $3.5 million) and Jacoby Brissett (one year, $4.7 million) seem like reasonable comparisons.

On the higher end, there’s Tyrod Taylor (two years, $11 million), Teddy Bridgewater (one year, $6.5 million), and Mitchell Trubisky (two years, $14.3 million), although they each have much more starting experience than White. Still, some team out there might fall in love with the potential White displayed from Weeks 12-14 and go all-in to land him.

An ESPN report from Rich Cimini in early February placed White directly in the range laid by the aforementioned contracts, as Cimini projected White “can command anywhere from $4 million to $8 million” per year on the open market.

If White signs a one-year deal for $4-8 million, it could be a tad expensive for the Jets. At that price tag, if you added White to a quarterback room with Zach Wilson and, say, Derek Carr, the Jets could be spending around $50 million on quarterbacks this season. The Jets seem to love White, but considering the other two quarterback investments they will (likely) be responsible for, where do they draw the line on his price tag?

Or, perhaps the Jets trade Wilson, which would leave plenty of wiggle room for the Jets to pay White handsomely and ensure he returns as the backup.

The Jets’ QB1 pursuit has drawn the most attention this offseason, but their QB2 decision is a compelling storyline, too. Will Wilson return while White walks? Could Wilson be traded while White returns? Or, will both return? All three options seem plausible – especially after the open-ended comments Saleh made today.

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