Why Zach Wilson could make sense as a backup to Patrick Mahomes

Could Andy Reid fix Zach Wilson?

Kansas City Chiefs v New York Jets
Kansas City Chiefs v New York Jets / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

With Zach Wilson coming available this offseason, many teams have declined to so much as look in the Jets' direction in regards to the former number two overall pick. However, should the defending champs look to obtain Wilson's services to back up Patrick Mahomes in the 2024 campaign?

Wilson has been lackluster in three seasons in New York and was ready to take the backseat to Aaron Rodgers, until the latter's untimely injury in Week 1. A change of scenery may be exactly what the 24-year-old needs to get his feet under him in the NFL. Recent seasons have seen Chad Henne and Blane Gabbert take over the clipboard behind Mahomes in Kansas City. While both of them are dependable veterans, the offense was limited with them in control of the offense.

A youth movement behind Mahomes may be necessary should the two-time MVP miss games due to injury. Taking on a project like Wilson could be beneficial for both parties, as the offense would have to limit itself less with a younger backup quarterback. Wilson could prove himself to be worth taking a swing on by other teams in the league after collecting some hardware as a member for the first "three-peat" in NFL history.

Mahomes has only missed two games in his NFL career due to injury, so the odds are slim that he would miss substantial time due to injury that would necessitate a major investment in the backup quarterback. However, Tom Brady hadn't missed a single start in six seasons until Week 1 of the 2008 season when he tore both his ACL and MCL against Kansas City. It was then that the New England front office was thankful they had Matt Cassel to come in and command the offense to a 10-5 record.

Even the greatest quarterbacks have had quality backups to both challenge the starter and be available should the starter go down while still being able to keep the offense running at a high level. The Patriots brought in Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett, and Cassel during Brady's time in New England and all three players played well when called upon and won games. Were they Tom Brady? No. But, they got the job done.

While Henne and Gabbert are quality backups, neither was asked to do too much (aside from Henne's heroics in the 2021 playoffs) in this offense, and fans don't expect it from them either.

Now, there is still something to be said about Wilson's cap hit, as he is currently carrying a
($11,184,307) cap hit into the 2024 season. Unless the Jets agree to eat some of his contract next season in a trade, or the Jets were to release Wilson (which seems more likely) the odds are currently very low that Zach Wilson would come to Kansas City.

Whether it is Wilson or a different young quarterback, the Chiefs would do well to invest a bit more behind the most valuable player in the NFL, and in the history of the Kansas City Chiefs.