The First Trade Domino of Draft Week Has Fallen

Zach Wilson Whispers
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

Draft week has officially arrived in the NFL, and in a few short days, we will finally get some answers to all the rumors surrounding the event.

When the first round arrives, the expectation is that there could be a number of different trades as teams try to jostle position for quarterbacks and other top draft prospects. Before the draft gets here, though, the first trade domino of draft week officially has fallen.

The First Trade Domino of Draft Week Has Fallen

Draft Week
Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports.

On Monday afternoon, the New York Jets and Denver Broncos agreed to a trade that sent quarterback Zach Wilson to Denver.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the trade, tweeting, “Former #Jets starting QB and No. 2 pick Zach Wilson is on the move. Sources say he’s being traded to the #Broncos, hoping for a fresh start. The deal includes a late-round pick swap (6th for a 7th) and NYJ will pay some of Wilson’s roughly $5.5M salary.”

The Broncos, of course, are in need of a starting quarterback after they decided to release Russell Wilson this offseason. This happened despite the fact that Wilson carries $85 million in dead money over the next two years.

Wilson (Zach) was selected with the second overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Jets, and he is the latest in a long line of failed QB experiments by the Jets. Over his three seasons in New York, Wilson appeared in 34 games (making 33 starts) and threw for 6293 yards, 23 TDs, and 25 INTs.

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) warms up at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022. Nfl Ny Jets Vs Jacksonville Jaguars Jaguars At Jets. © Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Heading to Denver, Wilson goes to a Broncos team where head coach Sean Payton will try to rejuvenate his career. For now, it is unclear as to whether or not this will impact the Broncos’ draft process, but it is worth noting that they have been a team rumored to be interested in trading up for a QB.

Sitting at the 12th overall pick, Denver would have to jump past the Vikings in order to select a quarterback. However, if Payton believes that he can rectify Wilson’s trajectory in the NFL, perhaps Denver is no longer interested in making a drastic move to go after a quarterback this year.

After all, Denver will be feeling the effects of their Russell Wilson decisions for the next couple years. Zach Wilson now is a very low-risk option seeing as Denver simply slid down a couple spots in the 2024 Draft, and New York will pay a chunk of the young QB’s salary this season.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

This is just the latest QB from the 2021 NFL Draft to be traded. Of the five quarterbacks to be selected in the first round, Wilson now becomes the fourth to be traded. Trevor Lawrence, the first overall pick, is the only one to remain with his original team.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.