NEW YORK — Tebowmania is headed to Broadway.
Quarterback Tim Tebow was traded Wednesday to the Jets from the Broncos. Denver general manager Brian Xanders said the Broncos would receive fourth- and sixth-round draft picks, while New York gets a seventh-rounder — all in 2012.
Denver started shopping Tebow after signing Peyton Manning on Tuesday.
Even though Tebow led the Broncos to the playoffs last season — along the way beating Sanchez and the Jets, who missed the post-season — Denver executive John Elway believed Manning gave the team a better chance at winning a championship now.
Tebow is expected to complement starter Mark Sanchez, who received a $40.5 million contract extension, with $20.5 million guaranteed, earlier this month. The Jets also had pursued Manning.
Tebow has a flock of fervent fans for reasons that have to do as much with his faith as his football skills. A devout Christian, he’s been a role model since his days at Florida, when he led the Gators to two national titles and captured the Heisman Trophy.
Many of them were upset when Elway lured Manning to Denver following his release by the Indianapolis Colts, and Tebow’s popular No. 15 Broncos jerseys were snatched up at 50 per cent discounts following Manning’s decision to come to Denver
Elway and Broncos coach John Fox called Tebow on Monday night to tell him it was possible he would be traded.
“I’m sure he was disappointed,” Elway said Tuesday. “He didn’t come out and say he was disappointed. I think it was a typical Tim Tebow response in the fact that he was very positive, and he said, ’Well, we’re talking about Peyton Manning, and I understand exactly what you’re doing.”’
Elway said he wanted to do right by Tebow, who took over a 1-4 team and led the Broncos to the AFC West title and a playoff win over Pittsburgh.
“It would be our goal to get him in the best situation possible for him to have success also,” Elway said.
The trade first was reported by Fox Sports.
Tebow’s base salaries for the next few seasons are very cap friendly: $1.942 million in 2012, $2.266 million in 2013 and $2.590 million in 2014.
Although the unorthodox QB energized the Broncos with a series of fourth-quarter comebacks last season, Tebow’s messy mechanics and flawed footwork led to accuracy issues. And with his eagerness to run, he’s hardly the prototypical pocket passer.
The Broncos changed their offence midseason to fit his unique skill set, dusting off the option offence, and it revitalized them as they soared to the top of the NFL rushing charts. But their passing game remained stuck in neutral as Tebow completed just 46 per cent of his throws.
Tebow’s days were numbered in Denver when Manning chose the Broncos as his next destination. They are two entirely different quarterbacks and it made little sense to keep Tebow as a backup because the Broncos were going to have a vastly different offence under Manning, one of the most precise passers in league history.
Tebow’s skills will fit much better behind Sanchez, who has many of the same traits.