Zach Wilson ruled out for Jets’ finale at Patriots. Could be end of quarterback’s time in New York

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New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) is sacked by Miami Dolphins linebacker Bradley Chubb (2) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Fla. AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Zach Wilson is done for the season — and perhaps so is his time with the New York Jets.

Coach Robert Saleh announced Wednesday that Wilson remains in the concussion protocol and has already been ruled out for the team’s season finale at New England on Sunday.


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It could also mark the end of Wilson’s tenure in New York after a disappointing three seasons during which he never lived up to lofty expectations as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft.

“I thought he had a great OTAs, a great training camp,” Saleh said. “I thought he battled. He fought. He’s a fighter, he really is. Obviously there’s things that he wishes he could have back and I know there’s a lot of things he improved on. Some things were out of his control.

“I’ve said it and I’ll say it again: I think he’s going to have a long career in this league.”

It appears unlikely, though, that it will be with the Jets.

“We’ll see,” Saleh said. “It’s all things that we’re going to have to 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.”

Wilson was injured in the first half of the Jets’ 30-0 loss at Miami on Dec. 17. Trevor Siemian will start his third straight game in Wilson’s place. Brett Rypien will be Siemian’s backup.

“Everyone responds differently,” Saleh said of Wilson and his concussion situation.

Saleh said tight end Jeremy Ruckert and offensive lineman Jacob Hanson also remain in the concussion protocol and won’t play against the Patriots.

Wilson was benched for two games earlier this season after replacing the injured Aaron Rodgers. Tim Boyle was ineffective in two starts and the Jets turned back to Wilson, who found himself in the headlines when The Athletic reported he was reluctant to step back into his role as the starter because of potential injury concerns. Wilson denied that later in the week and said he was excited to start again.

He returned with perhaps the best performance of his career, going 27 of 36 for 301 yards — his third career game of 300 or more yards — and two touchdowns in New York’s 30-6 victory over Houston. Wilson was selected the AFC offensive player of the week, but was injured the following week.

With Rodgers coming back next season from a torn left Achilles tendon, the Jets are expected to target another veteran backup quarterback in the offseason. Wilson is signed through next season and New York is unlikely to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. The Jets could look to trade the 24-year-old quarterback during the offseason.

Entering this season, the plan was to have Wilson sit behind Rodgers and learn — and perhaps take over from the four-time NFL MVP in a few years. All of that changed when Rodgers was injured four snaps into his debut with the Jets and Wilson was thrust back into the starting role.

“We were hoping to get that this year and 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. “It’s unfortunate, four plays in, what happened happened, but I think he’s made tremendous improvements from a year ago. I do. I think he has.

“It’s just an unfortunate series of events that occurred.”

COOK CLOCKS OUT

The Jets officially waived running back Dalvin Cook on Wednesday, parting ways with the four-time Pro Bowl selection after one disappointing season.

“Just good business for everybody, I guess,” Saleh said. “Dalvin’s been an unbelievable teammate since the day he walked in here. Obviously, it hasn’t gone the way any of us have wanted.”

Cook signed a one-year deal worth $7 million, including $5.8 million in guarantees, in August. He has a career-low 214 yards rushing on 67 carries and no touchdowns while working as the backup to Breece Hall. If Cook clears waivers, he’ll be able to sign with a playoff-bound team looking for backfield depth.

“Whatever opportunity he gets, I know he’s going to be great,” Saleh said.

NOTES: The Jets released OL Rodger Saffold from the practice squad Tuesday and he signed with Cleveland’s practice squad on Wednesday. … OL Vitaliy Gurman was signed to the practice squad.