Peyton Manning on Zach Wilson’s trade to Broncos: ‘I think a reboot actually is good’

Peyton Manning, who won a Super Bowl with the Broncos in 2016, said the trade that sent Zach Wilson to Denver from the New York Jets could be good for Wilson’s career.

“Sean Payton has a unique system, not necessarily much carryover from any of the systems that Zach has been in,” Manning said in a recent interview with Denver Sports radio. “So I think for Zach, I think a reboot actually is good.”

The Jets traded Wilson to the Broncos ahead of the NFL Draft, sending Wilson and a seventh-round pick (No. 256) to the Broncos for a sixth-round pick (No. 203), the teams announced Tuesday.

The trade marked the end of a saga where Wilson statistically had one of the worst starts to the career of any highly-drafted quarterback.


Grading the Zach Wilson trade: Jets finally move on; Broncos make low-cost bet on upside

The Jets, however, contributed to that poor start by failing to provide consistency in terms of an offensive system as New York switched systems during Wilson’s first three seasons with the franchise.

“The best way to really screw a young quarterback up is to change coordinators on him every single year, and it drives me crazy,” Manning told the show. “Look, I was very fortunate. I had an old-school coach named Tom Moore who was the coordinator the entire time I was there in Indianapolis.”

In three seasons, Wilson accounted for 28 total touchdowns and 34 turnovers. He completed 57 percent of his passes and threw for 300-plus yards only three times in 34 games. He threw for 250 yards or more eight times, and 150 yards or fewer 11 times.

Wilson never threw three touchdown passes in a game, and only seven times threw two or more touchdowns. He threw zero touchdowns 18 times. He never threw 10 touchdown passes in a season. According to TruMedia, Wilson ranks 47th of 52 eligible quarterbacks in their first three seasons in the last 10 years in EPA per dropback.

Earlier in the offseason, other Wilson draft classmates from 2021 changed teams, with Justin Fields going to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a conditional sixth-round pick and Mac Jones getting sent to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a sixth-rounder too. The Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence is the only first-round quarterback from that draft class still with his original team.

Manning told the show that he spoke to Wilson after news of the trade broke.

“I’ve never met Zach, but I got his number (Monday) from the Broncos and reached out to him and welcomed him to Denver and was excited with this new chapter,” Manning told the show. “He sounds excited to be here, so hopefully it’ll be a good fit.”

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(Photo: Sarah Stier / Getty Images)

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