Tim Tebow is gone but the questions about his curious one-year stint with the Jets continue a day after his release.
Acquired in a trade with the Broncos last March, Tebow spent one puzzling year with the Jets where he threw just eight passes and was involved just a handful of times in each game. Tebow's tenure started with a full press conference attended by 150 members of the media and ended ingloriously with a 125-word press release announcing his release on Monday.
On Tuesday in a conference call with season-ticket holders, general manager John Idzik said Tebow was never asked to switch positions.
“We really view Tim as a quarterback here. We didn’t contemplate moving him around,” Idzik said on the call. “When we viewed him on the roster, we viewed him with respect to the other quarterbacks we have.”
Immediately after the trade, head coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum said Tebow was coming in to back up incumbent starter Mark Sanchez and to be used in a variety of different roles.
This line from Jets management was supposed to quell any talk of a quarterback competition but instead created an issue in the team’s locker room.
One offensive starter on the 2012 team spoke to Metro New York about the fallout of the Tebow trade last season. The starter spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the nature of the remarks.
“It’s done, it’s over, but it wasn’t good last year. What happened was that Mark became entitled because he was the only player on the roster who didn’t fight for his job,” the player said. “You’ve got this situation where the player brought in to be the backup can’t win the starting job so what does that mean for the starter? It means he’s the starter no matter what goes on and all that. I’m not saying Mark dogged it out there but it created this sort of entitlement mentality and Mark had his job no matter what. Then you got a Tim Tebow who outworked everyone and couldn’t get a fair shot. They made a mistake by not making this an open thing. I don’t think they meant to but making Tebow the immediate backup hurt the whole team. It made Mark protected in his role.
“I think last year, the coaches and GM were scared that Tebow might come in and show-up Mark. If Tebow was active in Week 15 and not [backup quarterback] Greg [McElroy] then I don’t think they pull Sanchez from that game.”
“You then have a bunch of his teammates saying, ‘Mark is our guy.’ Well, do they say that for an offensive lineman who isn’t doing well or a tight end or a receiver? No, the best man plays no matter what. I’m not saying Tim was better than Mark, but he wasn’t given even a look last year. I think they had to release him just to be rid of the negativity. Mark knew that no matter how bad he was, Tebow wasn’t going to play over him. If his last name was Davis or Jones or Smith and not Tebow, would he then have had a shot?”
Even with the release of Tebow, the Jets still have five quarterbacks on their roster. Sanchez and McElroy return and the team signed veteran quarterback David Garrard this offseason as a free agent. They also drafted West Virginia’s Geno Smith in the second round last week and brought in Matt Simms to compete for a role as well.
“We have five quarterbacks on our roster; we’ll let them compete. We got a rookie minicamp coming up so we’ll be able to see a few of them throw and then we’ll take it day-to-day,” Idzik said on the call. “We’ll see how it goes going forward. We probably won’t be able to take five to camp but again we’ll let it play out.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for all your offseason news.