The wait for Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow to be traded is over pretty much before it even started. The New York Jets have acquired Tebow and a seventh round pick from the Broncos for a fourth and a sixth round pick. All of the picks are in the 2012 NFL draft.
Tebow’s career in Denver signaled an end when the team signed future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning to a five-year, $96 million contract on Monday.
A number of teams expressed their interest in Tebow, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers, and New York Jets.
Tebow will be a backup to Mark Sanchez in New York. Sanchez signed a three-year, $40.5 million contract extension this offseason, despite a rough 2011 season that resulted in 18 interceptions, 10 fumbles, and a passer rating of just 78.2. He will enter the 2012 season as the starter but don’t think he won’t feel the pressure of having a popular player like Tim Tebow as his backup.
Last season, Tebow took a 1-4 Broncos team to seven wins in eight games, resulting in an unlikely AFC West division title. He engineered a shocking overtime postseason victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers, throwing for 316 yards, including the game-winning 80-yard touchdown to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime.
A first round draft pick in 2010, Tebow will also probably be used as a wildcat option in New York. The Jets used to run the wildcat with quarterback Brad Smith, and they lack a big power runner at the goal line. Tebow rushed for 660 yards and six touchdowns last season, including a 20-yard game-winning touchdown against the Jets in the final minute of a Thursday Night Football game in November.
I’m interested to see how the New York media and fans take to Tebow. Will they start clamoring for him to start every time Sanchez plays poorly? Or will they remain loyal to Sanchez, who led them to two AFC championship game appearances in three seasons?
The presence of Tebow in the Jets’ locker room could cause waves too. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie just tweeted that the Jets don’t need Tebow a few days ago, and the team’s best player, Darrelle Revis, said that Tebow’s unorthodox passing style wouldn’t sustain long-term success in the National Football League.
The Jets also have quarterback Drew Stanton on their roster, as well as Greg McElroy.