49ers can't take the bait on nightmare draft bust


New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

About the only way the 49ers should trade for Zach Wilson is if the Jets send draft picks to the Niners with him.

Embattled New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson's camp has asked his team's permission to seek a trade.

The San Francisco 49ers just so happen to need backup quarterbacks to support their own starter, Brock Purdy. In mere weeks, the Niners are scheduled to lose Purdy's previous backup quarterbacks, Sam Darnold and Brandon Allen, to free agency with the start of the league's new year. And there's no indication that either will re-sign with San Francisco to maintain any sort of continuity.

So, it makes some sense that the 49ers could be in on a potential trade with Gang Green for Wilson's services after he flamed out following being selected at No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. After three years in the league, he owns a 57-percent completion rate and a 73.2 passer rating.

"The Rams and 49ers are among intriguing options for quarterback Zach Wilson, who has permission to seek a trade from the Jets," ESPN's Dan Graziano recently said.

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49ers must take other QB paths instead of trading for Zach Wilson

Purdy is the starter going forward. No questioning that.

But the value of having a decent backup can't be understated. Should Purdy suffer some sort of lengthy injury in 2024, a good No. 2 option can hold the line in the interim.

As enticing as it might be for an offensive-driven team like the Niners to resurrect his floundering career, Wilson is not the backup whom head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. should seek. Instead, San Francisco can opt for two separate routes this offseason:

  • Add a proven veteran at the tail end of his career
  • Use a late-round pick on a developmental QB in the NFL Draft

Not only would an older veteran (preferably with playoff experience) be a potential mentor to Purdy, but he'd be reliable enough to plug that gap, while a developmental option could hold that No. 3 spot way down on the depth chart.

Wilson doesn't meet either criteria.

About the only way Wilson would make sense for the 49ers, which is something our friends over at The Jet Press covered, would be if New York not only ate a substantial chunk of the quarterback's remaining salary but also included some draft compensation as part of the trade.

Neither seems likely.

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