Tim Tebow is now officially no longer a Denver Bronco and will join the New York Jets after being traded Wednesday for two second-round picks, while the Jets got Tebow and a seventh-round pick.
By J.P. Pelzman
THE RECORD (Hackensack, N.J.)
NEW YORK — Wednesday was quite a day for the Jets, even by their headline-grabbing standards.
They announced at 12:50 p.m. via their Twitter feed that they had “agreed on” a trade with Denver for quarterback Tim Tebow.
But later in the afternoon, reports surfaced that the deal had not been finalized because the Jets were balking at paying just over $5 million in salary advances due Tebow over the next three seasons.
The Jets’ hierarchy apparently had not read that part of Tebow’s contract.
Finally, almost eight hours later, the deal finally was done.
The Jets acquired Tebow in exchange for fourth- and sixth-round picks in this year’s draft. The Broncos also sent the Jets a seventh-round pick. The Jets will pick up approximately $2.5 million of the salary advances due to Tebow.
General manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan weren’t immediately made available for comment.
“Our goal was to do the best thing for Tim and the Broncos, and I believe the opportunity that presented itself with the New York Jets accomplishes that objective,” Denver executive vice president of football operations John Elway said in a statement. “Tim made a lot of strides last year and has a very promising career ahead of him. If anyone is willing to put the work in to be great, it’s Tim Tebow.
“I have a great deal of respect for Tim and the positive impact he makes both on the field and in the community. He has a bright future in this league, and I’m hopeful he will enjoy continued success with the Jets.”
Tebow, made expendable by Denver’s signing of Peyton Manning this week, is projected as a backup for the Jets to starter Mark Sanchez, specializing in the run-oriented Wildcat formation. Tebow, a 2007 Heisman Award winner at the University of Florida, was the 25th overall pick by Denver in the 2010 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder has averaged 5.4 yards per rush with 12 rushing touchdowns in two NFL seasons. Yet he has completed only 47.3 percent of his passes but has thrown 17 touchdowns and only nine interceptions.
New offensive coordinator Tony Sparano was the head coach with Miami when the Dolphins introduced the Wildcat in 2008.
Tebow took over as a starter last season when the Broncos were 1-4 and helped lead them to the AFC West title and a first-round playoff win against Pittsburgh. The Broncos then were routed by New England in the AFC divisional playoffs.
Tebow led Denver to five fourth-quarter comeback victories last season.
Tebow impressed Ryan in a 17-13 Broncos victory over the visiting Jets on Nov. 17, 2011, directing a 95-yard game-winning touchdown drive in the final minutes, capped with his 20-yard touchdown run. He has become well known for his devout faith in Christianity, and according to a source, the Jets believe he can help their dysfunctional locker room.
Before the trade was made, Sanchez spoke Tuesday about Tebow and Manning on Fox Sports Radio in Los Angeles.
“I think Peyton is going to do great, and I think Tim is going to do great no matter what happens,” Sanchez said on The Petros & Money Show. “He can learn from one of the best quarterbacks to ever play, or he moves on somewhere else and uses his skills at another ballclub. He definitely has talent. He knows how to win. He knows how to impact players, so both guys are really in a good situation. It’ll work out for both of them.”
However, Sanchez admitted he doesn’t like being replaced at quarterback in Wildcat formations.
“I don’t know if I’m very good split out like that,” he said with a laugh. “And I don’t like coming off the field.”
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie said on Twitter before the trade was made that he wasn’t in favor of bringing in Tebow.
“Y bring Tebow in when we need to bring in more Weapons for @Mark-Sanchez,” Cromartie tweeted. “Let’s build the team around him. We already signed to 3 year ext.”
Indeed, the Jets signed Sanchez to a three-year contract extension earlier this month, so the move is somewhat strange in that Tebow’s popularity could put pressure on Sanchez should he falter during the 2012 season. The Jets owe Sanchez $20.5 million in guaranteed money over the next two seasons, and re-upped him after they briefly pursued Manning, who had no interest in the Jets.
The Jets already had signed a projected No. 2 quarterback in former Detroit Lion Drew Stanton, signed to a one-year deal last week.