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Woody Johnson: Jets will keep QB Zach Wilson if no trade materializes

Perhaps the New York Jets' split with Zach Wilson isn't as straightforward as initially thought.

Gang Green owner Woody Johnson told reporters Monday from the NFL's Annual League Meeting that he could hang onto the former No. 2 overall pick.

"If we don't trade him, we're going to keep him," Johnson said, via ESPN.

The Jets granted Wilson permission in February to seek a trade. Given his play and nearly $5.5 million guaranteed salary, it's unlikely New York will find a willing trade partner unless the Jets are willing to eat a significant portion of the pay.

Earlier this offseason, Johnson lamented the Jets "need a backup quarterback. We didn't have one last year," a glancing shot at Wilson, who struggled taking over for Aaron Rodgers. On Monday, he was softer on the former first-rounder.

"I feel badly about Zach in some ways because last year it would've been a great -- it would've been the first time he could just sit back and watch a master at work, and he's never had that," Johnson said. "He's been in the fire from Day 1, and I think that's what he needs. He needs to be in a place where he can observe for a while. He's got the skill. He can do everything. There's a reason we drafted him No. 2 overall, and I have confidence that he'll get there at some point."

The Jets signed Tyrod Taylor to be Rodgers' backup in 2024, which, in theory, could give Wilson that buffer year as No. 3. It still feels likely that New York parts with Wilson in one form or another at some point, but ultimately, it's Johnson's call. If he wants to hang onto the former No. 2 pick, that's the owner's prerogative.

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