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Zach Wilson is inactive for Sunday's game against Dolphins but Jets keep faith in QB for next year

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Zach Wilson is inactive for Sunday's game against Dolphins but Jets keep faith in QB for next year

Zach Wilson’s difficult second season is over, so when — or if — he’ll play again for the New York Jets remains to be seen, despite head coach Robert Saleh’s promise to keep the 23-year-old.

The struggling quarterback will be inactive Sunday in the team’s season finale in Miami, with Mike White starting a second straight game and Joe Flacco the backup. However, coach Robert Saleh insisted Wednesday that Wilson still has a future with the franchise.

‘Zach has got all the talent in the world and he has all the trust we have in the world,’ said Saleh. ‘Just like I said from here on ”reset,” we will grind him, we.

‘And come hell or high water, we’ll figure out how to get him to where we know he can be.’

Zach Wilson will not play Sunday in the team's final game against the Miami Dolphins

Zach Wilson will not play Sunday in the team’s final game against the Miami Dolphins

Jets head coach Robert Saleh (right) has vowed to help Wilson, 23, 'come hell or high water'

Jets head coach Robert Saleh (right) has vowed to help Wilson, 23, ‘come hell or high water’

That’s the challenge facing Saleh and his coaching staff this offseason, which also lends itself to the stark reality that the Jets still don’t know what they have in Wilson.

Some fans and media have labeled the No. 2 pick in the 2021 draft is a bust, and his miserable stats may back that up. Wilson has 15 TDs and 18 interceptions with a 55.2 percent completion rate and a 72.8 quarterback rating in 22 starts.

He has also been benched twice this season so he can, as Saleh calls it, ‘reset’ himself mentally and physically. But Wilson also showed flashes of the off-schedule playmaking ability that had the Jets and others salivating leading up to the draft.

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‘Again, we have no doubts,’ said Saleh. We believe in the young man and the biggest thing for Zach, not his talent. We want to make sure that we reconnect with Zach and get his confidence back, and get his trust back in himself and in us, and us in him, in all of us. Just to make sure he gets back on track, get his footwork right, get his mechanics right, get his mind right.

‘So, it’s not a talent thing for Zach, I don’t believe that. I just think, like I said, when it’s a reset, we’re going to work our tails off to help him. We are committed to him.’

Wilson has 15 TDs and 18 INTs with a 55.2 completion rate in 22 starts in his second NFL season

Wilson has 15 TDs and 18 INTs with a 55.2 completion rate in 22 starts in his second NFL season

That doesn’t mean, however, that Wilson will be the starter next season. Or that he’s a sure thing to be on the roster — though that’s unlikely.

Wilson’s four-year, $35million rookie contract is fully guaranteed, which means the Jets will take a big financial hit if they cut him after this season. Wilson will count $9.6 million against the salary cap next season and cutting him would cost New York nearly $20.8 million in dead money. So it will cost the Jets more to cut him ($11.2million) than to keep him.

A trade could be a possibility, but it’s likely that teams would be willing to give up a lot to get Wilson.

White and Flacco are free agents after this season, so it makes sense for general manager Joe Douglas to try to sign or acquire a veteran quarterback and keep Wilson as a backup — with the hope he can be more.

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‘You just see it all over the league where these quarterbacks hit, and especially this year,’ Saleh said, referring to the two former Jets. ‘When you look at what Sam (Darnold) is doing in Carolina, doing a really good job, and Geno (Smith) just from a relatable standpoint, these guys take time. And we will give him that time.

Saleh thinks staying patient with Wilson will pay off, comparing his progress to Geno Smith's

Saleh thinks staying patient with Wilson will pay off, comparing his progress to Geno Smith’s

Saleh also used ex-Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, who excelled with the Jacksonville Jaguars

Saleh also used ex-Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, who excelled with the Jacksonville Jaguars

One narrative is perhaps that Wilson isn’t a perfect fit in offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s scheme.

‘There’s always a challenge,’ said Saleh. ‘There’s a patience aspect to it and I get it — if you love patience, why did you put him down? I understand, there are things deeper than this. But you can look back and say a lot of what ifs, but at the end of the day, a quarterback’s got to sit in the pocket and he’s got to deliver the football.’

That’s an area where Wilson needs to improve, Saleh said, and something he showed once earlier this season before leaving the track.

‘It just drifted away from him a little bit, for one reason or another,’ said Saleh, ‘and how do you find that consistency?’

Wilson taking a real mental break when the season ends could be the first step in getting him back on track.

‘Stay away from this game, just reset,’ said Saleh. ‘I think the greatest strength and the greatest gift you can give yourself as a human being is to know what is important to you, what you value and how do you live up to those values ​​every day?

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‘That’s the greatest gift you can give yourself, is to discover yourself and I think Zach needs to go away, read a book and find that out.’