The No. 2 overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft is not under contract -- yet.
That soon could change. Jets coach Robert Saleh was asked about Zach Wilson's absence on Tuesday, the eve of the team's first training camp practice, and told reporters it's a matter which general manager Joe Douglas is actively addressing.
"With regards to Zach, obviously Joe's working on it here this morning and hopefully that gets done," Saleh said. "But as it is with every player on this roster, when one person misses, another person has to take over those reps, so it's a challenge just in terms of trying to maintain the wear and tear on all these individual players.
"But for the individual, that's where the challenge becomes in terms of making up those reps. Everybody knows how important it is to me and our team with regards to reps and practice and process, and every moment you miss from that process, it becomes a challenge from an individual standpoint. But as a team, we're in good shape, the installs are in good shape and we're ready to roll."
Wilson's lack of a signed contract isn't entirely shocking. The last time the Jets spent a top-three pick on a quarterback, Sam Darnold also missed a handful of practices due to contract negotiations.
Make no mistake: Like Darnold in 2018, Wilson is not holding out for more money. The NFL eliminated such a possibility when the league and the players' union agreed to a slotted salary system for rookie deals based on draft position, something that has now existed for a decade.
What's usually the case with prolonged rookie contract negotiations is a haggling related to offset language within the contract, or bonus payout schedules. Unsurprisingly, the Jets haven't made any of these details public, and since it's not quite a matter of total dollars and cents, it shouldn't take too long to get the deal done and signed. One of the other two outstanding first-rounders, Chargers tackle Rashawn Slater, agreed to terms on his rookie deal Tuesday.
As Saleh said, the Jets want Wilson in the building as quickly as possible so he doesn't miss valuable repetitions in the most important portion of offseason or preseason practice. His work toward becoming the Jets' true franchise quarterback begins now -- or whenever he signs his deal and officially joins his team in Florham Park.
Training camp is finally here! Be sure to check outNFL Network's extensive live coverage, including Inside Training Camp every day and highlighted by Training Camp: Back Together Saturday Fueled by Gatorade on July 31.