All eyes will be on rookie quarterback Zach Wilson during the New York Jets’ camp — once he reports.
The former BYU star still had not signed his rookie contract early Tuesday afternoon, less than 24 hours before his first scheduled camp practice. While Wilson’s contract is slotted, per the NFL rookie wage scale, to be worth $35.15 million over four years and includes a $22.9 million signing bonus, it appears the sides are working out offset language. That practice, shared by most NFL teams, provides clubs with financial protection if they release the player before the end of a contract.
“I’ve got a lot of faith in Joe (Douglas),” head coach Robert Saleh said of the Jets general manager who is handling the negotiations. “So we’ll see what happens in the next couple of hours.”
The situation is eerily reminiscent to that of Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick in 2018 who missed the first three days of training camp practices before signing his rookie deal.
Saleh didn’t seem overly concerned about the possibility of the Jets opening camp without Wilson — who was the only player to not report Tuesday — and the young quarterback missing some time on the field.
“It’s something he’ll have to navigate through,” Saleh said. “I’ve got a lot of faith in Zach, too. He’s incredibly intelligent and he’s got a tremendous drive. When he does get here, I know that somehow, someway he’ll make up for it.”
Saleh and the Jets were focused on football again after spending the last several days mourning the loss of their friend, colleague and mentor.
The death of assistant coach Greg Knapp last Thursday stunned the organization and the entire NFL community. But the Jets are preparing to hit the field for their first practice of training camp Wednesday — just as Knapp would have wanted.
“It is an absolute tragedy and knowing Knapper, I mean, he’d be really, really upset if we didn’t move on with a positive attitude,” Saleh said Tuesday. “He was a tremendous man, he was a tremendous leader, tremendous father, tremendous husband and he’s going to be sorely missed.”
Knapp died of his injuries from an accident on July 17 when he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle near his home in California. He was 58.
One of Knapp’s primary roles with the Jets was to be an experienced voice for Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick, to lean on as the team’s expected starter.