The Jets have traded for Tim Tebow.
Let the circus begin.
The team announced that the former
Broncos quarterback will join the Jets. Reports are Denver will receive two picks —a
fourth-rounder and a sixth-rounder. The Jets will also receive a seventh-round pick.
"I'm thankful they believed in me and stuck with me through this crazy day," Tebow said in a conference call late Wednesday night. "I'm very excited to be a Jet."
Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said in a conference call Wednesday night that Tebow will be the back-up quarterback to Mark Sanchez and that he had spoken to them both and they understood that. He repeatedly stressed that Sanchez will be the starter. He said he knows Tebow has a "magnetic following," but that he isn't worried about fans clamoring for Tebow to start.
Tebow said he spoke to Sanchez Wednesday and had a "great" conversation with him.
"I think we'll push each other to get better," Tebow said.
"Every quarterback has a backup," Tannenbaum said. "We just changed who ours is."
Late Wednesday afternoon ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that a clause in Tebow's contract means the Jets are required to pay the Broncos about $5 million in salary the Broncos gave Tebow as an advance. The information, apparently news to the Jets, held up the deal for some eight hours. Tannenbaum said the team knew about the money, but just disagreed over who would be responsible for paying it. In the end, Schefter reported the Jets agreed to pay half of the $5 million.
"We had a disagreement with how the advance was going to be handled," Tannenbaum said. "Denver was well within their rights."
The Jets will utilize Tebow in Wildcat packages, Tannenbaum said.
"[Head coach] Rex [Ryan] has always believed in the Wildcat package," he said. "He always thought that was difficult to perpare for."
"He's a coach you want to play for," Tebow said of Ryan. "He has his players' backs."
New Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano was head coach of the Dolphins when they brought the Wildcat look to the NFL with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. The Jets also ran it regularly with Brad Smith before the receiver and former college quarterback signed with Buffalo prior to last season.
The Broncos meanwhile unloaded a fan favorite days after signing Peyton Manning. It's well known the team was not a believer in Tebow as an every down quarterback.
"As a former player, I know the last two weeks were not easy for Tim," Broncos Executive Vice President John Elway said in a statement. "He was put in a difficult situation, and I commend him for how he handled it with the same first-class manner he displayed throughout his career in Denver.
"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."
On Tuesday, Tannenbaum spoke to reporters on a
conference call about the signing of LaRon Landry and said he was happy
with the Jets' quarterback situation. They signed former Lions
quarterback Drew Stanton as a back-up and have Greg McIlroy on the
roster. Tannenbaum said they haven't decided what to do with Stanton and McIlroy, but said they could carry four quarterbacks.
"A player and person like Tim don't come around very often. He is real and he walks the walk," Broncos head coach Jon Fox said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to watching him continue his career with the Jets, and I wish him the very best."
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.