Jets training camp begins without Zach Wilson as 2nd overall pick remains unsigned

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Tuesday was the day for Jets players to report to training camp and Zach Wilson wasn’t there.

Wilson and the Jets still haven’t come to terms on his rookie deal. The reason for the former BYU star quarterback’s absence centers around offset language.

For readers who have questions on offset language, it focuses on what happens to a player’s salary if he’s no longer with the team during the first four years of his career while on his rookie contract. The Jets want offset language built into the contract so if Wilson’s time in New York doesn’t work out, the club could save some money if he lands on another team.

Having offset language in rookie contracts is apparently the norm around the NFL. Thirty of the 32 teams usually include an offset with contracts that have guaranteed money. The only teams that don’t are the Jaguars and the Rams.

But Robert Saleh says he isn’t worried about his quarterback’s contract situation and has “a lot of faith” in GM Joe Douglas.

“Joe’s working on it this morning and hopefully that gets done,” Saleh said in his first press conference of training camp. “Joe’s got a great handle on everything and when it gets done, it gets done.”

Wilson’s contract is set for $35.15 million over four years, including a $22.9 million signing bonus.

However, if the contract dispute lingers, Wilson will miss valuable practice time and that wouldn’t be ideal for the Jets. Backups James Morgan and Mike White would have to run the show while the No. 2 overall pick is out.

But Saleh will find a solution until his starter shows up.

“It’s something that we’ll have to navigate,” Saleh said. “I have a lot of faith in Zach. He’s incredibly intelligent and he’s got a tremendous drive.”

That energy carries over to his teammates as they understand the business aspect of the NFL. Jets guard Greg Van Roten does not view Wilson’s situation as a negative.

“I don’t think it’s a bad look. It’s his personal decisions, something he’s dealing with as far as their contract negotiations,” Van Roten said. “I don’t want to comment on what Zach’s dealing with because I know what that process is. It’s not fun. I know he just wants to play football, just like everybody else.”

Players and coaches don’t see this as a bad look — at least in what they are willing to say publicly — but there’s reasons to monitor this long term. Agents might see this contract issue as a recurring theme with the Jets.

“Showing you how unreasonable the Jets are,” an agent texted me. “There is a trend.”

But the team can avoid uncomfortable questions if they get Wilson into camp sooner rather than later.

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