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Jets HC Robert Saleh noncommittal on Zach Wilson's future in New York: 'We'll see'

Zach Wilson's tumultuous, and ultimately disappointing tenure with the Jets might soon reach its conclusion.

In fact, he might have already played his last game in New York. The quarterback remains in concussion protocol and has been ruled out of the Jets' regular-season finale on Sunday against the New England Patriots, bringing a quiet end to his 2023 season.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh declined to commit to a future including Wilson in New York when asked about the former No. 2 overall pick on Wednesday.

"We'll see," Saleh said, via ESPN. "It's all things that we're going to have talk about once the season's over, but whether it's here or somewhere else, I believe he's going to have a hell of a career."

Riding the unstoppable wave of a stellar pre-draft process, Wilson arrived as the anointed face of New York's future when the Jets chose him one pick after Jacksonville selected Trevor Lawrence atop the draft in 2021. Wilson quickly learned how wide the gap is between collegiate and pro football, though, struggling mightily in two seasons, including a second campaign in which he was benched multiple times.

Recognizing quarterback was the club's biggest need entering 2023, the Jets made an aggressive push to acquire Aaron Rodgers, seemingly solving their problem under center. But Rodgers' first season in New York ended after just four plays due to a torn Achilles, forcing Wilson back onto the field in a year in which the Jets expected him to sit behind and learn from Rodgers.

The results certainly weren't inspiring. While Wilson showed brief flashes of potential, posted a 4-7 record as a starter and lit up the Houston Texans in a 30-6 win in Week 14 en route to AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, it became painfully obvious he hadn't progressed enough to be considered a viable starting candidate in 2024.

"We were hoping ... to give him that one year to watch Aaron play football, and learn and grow with all the different things that come with the scheme," Saleh said on Wednesday. "It's unfortunate, four plays in, what happened, but I think he's made tremendous improvements from a year ago. I do. It's just an unfortunate series of events that occurred."

The underwhelming results were not Wilson's fault alone. New York's offensive line has been remarkably bad in 2023, due in large part to injuries. Despite owning a stingy defense, the Jets' expected turnaround never materialized. And Wilson could end up departing because of it.

The Jets can attempt to trade Wilson in a situation similar to Baker Mayfield's exit from Cleveland in 2022, likely recouping nothing more than a late-round pick from a club willing to take a flier on the BYU product. In this scenario, Wilson might receive an opportunity to prove Saleh right while also enjoying a much-needed fresh start away from the bright lights of New York.

Mayfield has enjoyed quite a renaissance traveling this path, finding a new home in Tampa, where he has the chance to lead the Buccaneers to the playoffs this Sunday. Judging by the confidence of his coach and teammate, Trevor Siemian, Wilson could have a similar experience.

"He's got all the traits that you want to be good for a long time -- and then some," Siemian said. "He's got some of that extra stuff that a lot of guys don't have."

Nothing is certain at this point. New York could fail to find a trade partner and keep Wilson in 2024. But as of now, it seems as if the two parties are headed for a split, which might be for the best.

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