He was, and then he wasn’t, and then he was. It’s now official, former Florida Gators’ star quarterback Tim Tebow has been traded to the New York Jets. The Denver Broncos have sent Tebow and a seventh-round draft pick to the Jets for a fourth- and sixth-round selection. All of the draft picks included in the trade are for the 2012 NFL Draft.
Due to stipulations in his contract regarding advancement of salary, the Tebow-to-New-York deal appeared to have hit a snag on Wednesday. It even looked like he may be headed somewhere else when the Broncos and the Jets had trouble coming to an agreement. In the end, New York agreed to pay half of the $5 million back to the Broncos that had already been advanced to Tebow before the 2011 season. It’s a little confusing, but what we do know is that Tebow is now a New York Jet, set to be Mark Sanchez’s backup.
There are critics and will be more – such is the nature of this being Tim Tebow we’re talking about – but it presents an interesting situation. The Jets seemed to be unimpressed with Sanchez despite playoff success during his first two seasons in the league. New York failed to make the playoffs in Sanchez’s third season, but the quarterback did improve his efficiency rating and completion percentage to set career highs. The numbers are far from impressive, but were enough to change the tide on the team’s perception of their passer and earn Sanchez a three-year, $40.5 million contract extension.
Tebow isn’t being brought in to unseat Sanchez, but instead will likely fit into a role as a change-of-pace quarterback mostly running out of the wildcat. There are still those that have their doubts about Tebow’s chances to be a starting quarterback long-term, so going somewhere where he doesn’t have to immediately “save” a team may be good for him. With the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tebow would have been expected to not only produce wins, but also rescue a franchise in trouble in more ways than one. In New York, Tebow can become part of a team that has a lot of good parts, but needs some help.
Then there’s the other side; the side that believes Tebow should be the man wherever he goes. It can’t be denied that he produced wins in 2011 and was one of the biggest sports’ stories in recent memory. His teammates loved him, fans continued to adore him, and he took a team falling apart to the playoffs. But there was suddenly no room for Tebow when the Broncos signed Peyton Manning earlier this week. Playing behind Manning could have been the perfect situation for Tebow, but as soon as John Elway found another quarterback, the writing was on the wall. Elway never seemed to believe Tebow was the long-term answer and because of that we were all presented with the trade on Wednesday.
A new chapter begins for the former Gator great. It’s a chapter many are eager to read, one critics would rather skip over, but definitely a situation we’ll all pay great attention to. Tim Tebow, we’re all watching as we always have been.