There's more than the usual sense of urgency to resolve the contract dispute because Wilson, drafted No. 2 overall, is the presumptive starter. The Jets have no veteran quarterbacks on the roster, only James Morgan and Mike White, neither of whom has regular-season experience.
If Wilson doesn't sign by Wednesday, the Jets -- with a new coach and a new energy -- will conduct their first practice with Morgan or White under center.
Coach Robert Saleh didn't sound alarmed by the prospect of Wilson missing practice time.
"It's something he'll have to navigate through," Saleh said. "I've got a lot of faith in Zach. He's incredibly intelligent and he's got a tremendous drive. When he does get here, I know somehow, someway he'll make up for it."
Saleh offered a glimmer of optimism, saying he has "a lot of faith" in general manager Joe Douglas and that "we'll see what happens in the next couple of hours."
Wilson's contract is slotted at $35.15 million over four years, including a $22.9 million signing bonus, but the two sides are squabbling over offset language.
The Jets include an offset in every contract, which provides financial protection if they release the player before the contract is complete. This isn't an unusual stance. It's believed that 30 of the 32 teams typically include an offset with contracts that have guaranteed money.
Like all first-round picks, Wilson's contract will be fully guaranteed at signing.
The sticking point is that two of the five quarterbacks drafted in the first round received deals with no offsets -- Trevor Lawrence (No. 1 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars) and Justin Fields (No. 11 by the Chicago Bears).
The Lawrence contract came as no surprise because the Jaguars, along with the Los Angeles Rams, don't use the offset clause. Fields has a partial offset; his 2021 base salary and roster bonuses from 2022 to 2024 have no offset. That's almost 25% of the value of his entire $18.9 million contract.
An offset clause allows a team to cut a player before the end of his four-year contract is completed and have the remaining money reduced by the amount of his next contract. This is deeply rooted in the Jets' negotiating philosophy, and they don't want to create a new precedent.
Without an offset, a cut player collects the guarantee from his old team, plus the money he receives from his new team -- aka double dipping.
Saleh said he's not frustrated by Wilson's no-show, saying, "No, this is business." Tackle Mekhi Becton added, "I can't wait to see him play."
In 2018, the Jets and then-rookie quarterback Sam Darnold were involved in a brief contract dispute, which stemmed from payment schedule and specific language pertaining to guaranteed money. He wound up missing three days of practice.