After weeks of waiting, it has finally happened: The Green Bay Packers have traded four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets, thrusting them into the Super Bowl LVIII conversation.

In a perfect world, however, this deal never happens. 

Ideally, New York's decision to take Zach Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick in 2021 NFL Draft proves to be a rousing success, and the team boasts an ascending young quarterback to pair with its overall young roster to compete for the postseason going forward. But that never came to fruition. Wilson has been a bust and now finds himself relegated to a backup role behind Rodgers. While the Wilson era flopped mightily, there's a chance -- however slim -- this blockbuster could end up being the best thing to happen to him.

It's clear at this point that Wilson was not able to suit up on Day 1 and be a capable starting quarterback in the NFL. Now, nobody is asking him to do that. With Rodgers coming in town, Wilson would have the opportunity to sit back and truly go through the "reset" that head coach Robert Saleh admitted the QB needed at various points last season.

"The biggest thing with Zach ... is the young man needs a reset," Saleh said back in November in the wake of the QB's initial benching. "His decision-making has been fine, his practice habits, all that stuff has been fine, but there [are] some basic fundamental things that have gotten really out of whack for him. And this is just an opportunity for him to sit back, focus on those things, focus on a way to reconnect to all the different things that we fell in love with during the draft process, and I really feel like it's something he's going to be able to do."

While Saleh was talking specifically about the team going with Mike White over Wilson in that instance, his premise can certainly be applied to this current situation with Rodgers, only with a longer timetable for the quarterback to be held on the shelf, which he needs.

Zach Wilson
NYJ • QB • #2
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It also doesn't hurt that Rodgers and Wilson are close. Rodgers himself has admitted to taking him under his wing a bit and has lent him advice after meeting before the draft and first working out with one another during joint practices between the Jets and Packers back in the summer of 2021 when Wilson was a rookie. Rodgers was also Wilson's boyhood idol who he modeled his game after. So, if there was anyone Wilson would want to tap into to try and help eventually resurrect his career, it'd likely be Rodgers, who he'll now get to learn from on a daily basis. 

The contractual timetable also jives with a possible multi-year run with Rodgers and then a possible ascension for Wilson if the team can thread the needle. Rodgers is currently signed through 2026, which would be his age 43 season. Meanwhile, Wilson is under team control through 2025. He's a relatively cheap option to have over the next couple of years, as he has a base salary of $940k in 2023 and then a little over $1 million in base salary in 2024. What could get dicey is the fifth-year option for the 2025 season. If they decide against giving him that (which they likely will), he'd be facing free agency after the 2024 campaign, just two seasons into Rodgers' tenure. 

That said, it's hard to imagine Wilson having a robust market if he's been in the shadows of Rodgers all that time, so retaining him at a cheaper cost than the fifth-year option seems likely. It also may be in Wilson's best interest to remain with the team he's familiar with to have the best chance at success and a clearer path to a starting role whenever Rodgers decides to retire.

Again, this is the last thing Wilson and the Jets wanted for themselves when they sent in the pick and Roger Goodell announced his arrival to New York just a few years ago. Now that they're here, however, Rodgers' influence over the next few seasons may be Wilson's best shot at maybe being a legit starting quarterback in the NFL ... someday.