Published March 21, 2012
The Denver Broncos have completed the trade of quarterback Tim Tebow to the New York Jets, the Broncos announced Wednesday night, after earlier reports that the high-profile deal had hit a snag.
The Broncos agreed to trade Tebow and a seventh-round choice in the NFL draft to the Jets for draft selections in the fourth and sixth rounds.
ESPN reported earlier that the deal hit a snag over a clause in Tebow's contract with the Broncos requiring the Jets to pay a portion of $5 million in "recapture" funds to the Broncos. And NFL.com reported that the problem was due to Jets failing to read Tebow's contract closely before agreeing to the deal.
Fresh off signing prized free agent Peyton Manning to a five-year deal on Tuesday, Denver sought to part ways with the unconventional signal caller who led the Broncos on an improbable run to the AFC West title and a playoff victory last season.
Tebow -- who reportedly sought a return to Florida, where he won the Heisman Trophy as the quarterback of the Florida Gators -- was seen as a viable option in New York due to new Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano's interest in utilizing Wildcat formations that mesh with Tebow's skill sets.
The trade gives New York coach Rex Ryan a fourth quarterback option behind Mark Sanchez, Drew Stanton and Greg McElroy. Sanchez signed a three-year, $40.5 million contract extension earlier this month.
Tebow won two national championships and the 2007 Heisman trophy while at Florida. His prospects for developing into a pro-style quarterback were debated even after his illustrious collegiate career, with many critics citing his unorthodox throwing style and inability to stay in the pocket.
The Denver Broncos raised eyebrows when they drafted him 25th overall in the first round of the 2010 draft on the insistence of then-coach Josh McDaniel. When McDaniel was fired and replaced as the Broncos' head coach by John Fox before last season, Tebow seemingly fell out of favor until fans launched a massive campaign to get him on the field.
With their starter hurt and an unproven backup, the team acceded to the fans and started Tebow under center. Tebow turned the 1-4 team's fortunes around, guiding them to a 7-4 record as a starter, which was good enough for a division title and a playoff berth. In the first round of the playoffs, Tebow had his most memorable game, leading his team to an overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers and passing for two touchdowns and a yardage total of 316, which prompted his most ardent fans to cite the Bible verse John 3:16.
Broncos Hall of Famer and vice president of football operations John Elway reluctantly embraced Tebow, even though he seemed skeptical of his long-term viability despite vowing to personally work with the 6-foot-3, 240-pound quarterback on his throwing. But when Manning became available, Elway jettisoned any plan to keep Tebow as the team's starter.
Several teams were reportedly interested in Tebow, but how he would fit in to their respective offenses was always a question.