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Zach Wilson May Or May Not Be Willing To Start If The Jets Ask Him, Which They May Or May Not Do

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25: New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) and New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh talk prior to the National Football League game between the New York Jets and the Cincinnati Bengals on September 25, 2022 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A thing to keep in mind is that the entire Zach Wilson will-he-or-won't-he-and-hey-do-we-want-him-to-anyway saga took place in a span of about two hours, and in that time featured multiple twists and turns and multiple leaks from all sides. With a normal team a controversy like this might be the biggest drama of the season, and consume a locker room (or at least talk radio) for weeks at a time. With the New York Jets it's an afterthought on a Monday afternoon.

Wilson, who lost the starting job thanks to his play over the last two years but was unceremoniously thrust back into the role upon Aaron Rodgers's opening-day injury, lost the starting job again last month when the Jets mercifully turned to Tim Boyle in a last-ditch effort to save their season. But a funny thing happened: The Jets' offense got worse. A mid-game switch from Boyle to Trevor Siemian shockingly didn't help matters. Now, with a miracle playoff run out of the picture, the Jets are considering rearranging the deck chairs on their Titanic. But! A report claimed things might not be so simple. The Athletic's Zack Rosenblatt and Dianna Russini got together to reveal that, according to their sources, Wilson was "hesitant to step back into the role."

This is, before anything else, very funny. The Jets simply cannot be normal. Their season is over, thwarted by Greek-level hubris of putting all their eggs in a 40-year-old basket, but lots of teams are hopeless and playing out the string and manage to do so quietly. The Jets are playing out the string and still nuking bridges from space. One can imagine why Wilson would be reluctant to take snaps again: He's resentful, and he wants to avoid injury, and his stock probably only goes down the more he plays. One can also imagine him never, ever receiving another job offer if he turned down the opportunity to start.

But wait! Another report was coming down the pike. The Athletic's Jeff Howe clarified that Wilson might be interested in taking the starting job if the Jets asked him directly.

The obvious first reaction to that is Wait, if they're not asking Wilson directly, who are they asking? Or: who's asking him? Are the Houston Texans asking Zach Wilson to start for the Jets?

This was extremely confusing stuff, and possibly Athletic-on-Athletic scoop crime. Conveniently, it all happened just ahead of head coach Robert Saleh's press conference, which we suspect was preceded by a number of very deep sighs. "The young man wants the ball," he told reporters. “Let’s be clear: If he was reluctant to play, he wouldn’t be here."

Now we are forced to engage in a little Florham Park Kremlinology to reconstruct the sequence of events. If Wilson was indeed vocally hesitant to start again, it seems very plausible the Jets leaked that news to publicly pressure him into recanting. And that's more or less the picture that emerges from the full (and still vague) Athletic report, which now carried three bylines, as well as a still-confusing timeline recap from Russini.

"Zach Wilson made clear to multiple members of the organization—players, staff, coaches—of his apprehension to start due to perceived injury risk," we are told, citing "multiple team sources." Then Aaron Rodgers "reached out to Wilson in an effort to advise him to resume the starter role," but that did not change his mind. "The conversations with Rodgers came as a result of Wilson’s shared sentiments with others." (???) Translating scoopese is not easy on a good day, and this is not a good day.

Anyway, here's where things stand now: Saleh said he's not sure yet who he wants to start on Sunday. God bless the Jets.

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