Manning Deal Done, Broncos Trade Tim Tebow To New York Jets

With the deal to bring Peyton Manning to Denver now official, the Denver Broncos wasted no time at all in getting rid of Tim Tebow:

Unusually quiet in recent weeks, the New York Jets shattered the calm Wednesday by completing a trade for polarizing quarterback Tim Tebow, the team confirmed.

The Jets will send a fourth-round pick to the Denver Broncos, a source said.

Tebow, a former first-round pick, went on the trading block Monday when the Broncos secured free agent Peyton Manning, who signed a five-year, $96 million contract.

Several teams expressed interest, including Tebow’s hometown Jacksonville Jaguars, but the Jets — perceived as a sleeper at the outset — pulled off the splashiest trade of the offseason.

Tebow — he has three years remaining on his contract, with a base salary in 2012 of $1.1 million — will join a cast of backups behind incumbent Mark Sanchez, but his presence could ignite a quarterback controversy. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie tweeted before the trade that “we don’t need Tebow,” expressing his confidence in Sanchez and the current roster.

The timing of the trade is curious.

Two weeks ago, the Jets gave Sanchez a three-year, $40.5 million contract extension, professing their faith in him even though he regressed in certain areas last season. They signed former Detroit Lions backup Drew Stanton last week to be their No. 2 quarterback, handing him a $500,000 signing bonus. They also have former Alabama star Greg McElroy.

One doubts they’ll get rid of Sanchez, who may be inconsistent at times but still manages to perform very well in a high pressure in environment. So they could always trade away one of the other two. Nonetheless, don’t be surprised to see a Quarterback controversy in New York next season, especially if Sanchez gets off to a slow start as he has in the past. At first glance though I can’t say the move makes a whole lot of sense for the Jets unless they really are intending on making Tebow starting QB some day.

Two observations come to mind. First of all, John Elway really didn’t like Tebow at all did he? A 1st round draft pick who took the team to the playoffs gets traded away for a 4th round pick, that’s harsh. Second, if Tim Tebow thought he was in the center of a media maelstrom last season, that was nothing compared to the New York sports media. High pressure doesn’t even begin to describe it.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Andy says:

    Denver acquired Tebow during the Josh McDaniel’s “era” before Elway came on board. That’s a period us Broncos fans would like to forget.

    Personally, I think Tebow could be a great QB someday – he needs some time, mentoring and practice. If he hadn’t been the starter this past season I think it would make sense for the Broncos to keep him so he can learn from Manning. But that’s not really possible at this point.

  2. Herb says:

    In Denver, it’s like a million voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced…

    This whole thing is moving fast. Not sure it’s because Elway doesn’t like Tebow (I think he likes him, but just doesn’t want him to helm the team) but I do think it has to do with purging the last vestiges of the Josh McDaniels era. What a colossal screw-up those years were….

  3. James Joyner says:

    Presumably, no one was offering more than a 4th rounder. And Tebow just doesn’t make sense as Manning’s backup, given that they’ve got completely different games. But I’d think Tebow would be worth holding onto as an H-back type for his sheer athleticism.

  4. MBunge says:

    The Jets ran the wildcat offense with Brad Smith last year, so I imagine that’s the role they see for Tebow.

    I have to say, I’m a bit surprised that no Randian or conservative has yet seized on Tebow as the exampe of John Gaultian excellence strangled by a world overly burdened with rules and bureaucracy. Matt Flynn has one freakin’ game for the Packers and he gets a 3 year, 26 million dollar deal with 10 million guaranteed. Tebow takes a 1-4 team to the playoffs, wins a game where no one thought Denver had a chance, and nobody was willing to give up more than a 4th round pick for him. There’s no reason for that other than Flynn fitting the established and accepted model and Tebow not.


  5. Rick Almeida says:


    Matt Flynn has one freakin’ game for the Packers and he gets a 3 year, 26 million dollar deal with 10 million guaranteed.

    2 starts, 1 win, 9 touchdowns, 1 pick, 734 yards. Franchise records for single-game touchdowns (6) and passing yards.

    I have no dog in this fight, but I’d try Flynn over Tebow any day.

  6. Kit Smith says:

    @James Joyner: The question is whether Tebow is willing to make that transition to H-back or not. The QB is the natural leader of the team, and despite all of Tebow’s deficiencies as a QB I’ve never heard a single report that questions his ability to lead. I felt like Elway spent most of last season looking for a way out of the Tebow situation that didn’t involve pissing off Tebow’s rabid fan base, and they’re moving him out while everyone is elated at having a 4-time MVP QB join their team.

  7. MBunge says:

    @Rick Almeida: “I have no dog in this fight, but I’d try Flynn over Tebow any day.”

    Tebow – 8 and 5 as a starter on a team that was 1-4 without him. Against the Steelers in the playoffs he went 10-21, 316 yards, 2 TDs, passer rating of 125.6 and rushed for 50 yards. The idea that one game is worth more than an entire season is indefensible, unless you’re simply going with the guy who fits the conventional paradigm over any other consideration.


  8. Franklin says:

    What an odd move. I’m surprised it wasn’t Jacksonville.

  9. Kit Smith says:

    @Franklin: I think the Jets were just looking for new and more embarrassing ways to lose to the Patriots.

  10. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @James Joyner:

    But I’d think Tebow would be worth holding onto as an H-back type for his sheer athleticism.

    I think Tebow can be an asset to a team, but if I’m a GM what worries me more than his abilities is his fan base. Although I may want to make him an H-back/Wildcat QB, there will be a significant number of people calling for my head if I don’t make Tebow a full-time starter.

  11. J-Dub says:

    Somewhere Tom Brady is smiling…

  12. Steve V says:

    If I were Elway I’d want to move on from Tebow too, but I can’t believe the gamble they’re taking on Manning.

  13. MM says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy: Correct. The Tebow fan base is loud and a large number of them are irrational and unpleasable. They will want Ryan’s and Sanchez’s heads on a platter by this time next week.

  14. Rick Almeida says:


    He was outstanding in the Steeler game, no doubt at all.

    I still wouldn’t want a QB who regularly completes 3 for 13 for 36 yards and an interception over 57 minutes and needs the defense to force a turnover or convert an onside kick so he can go 4 for 7 for 45 yards and win by field goal. Even if he’s a decent running back to boot.

    Do you really think Flynn’s potential is less than Tebow’s demonstrated ability?

  15. Andy says:

    @Steve V:

    I shared your concern about Manning initially, but three teams gave him a thorough medical review and he did well enough that all three wanted him.

  16. Brett says:

    Tebow’s 8 wins aren’t that impressive, considering the teams he won against. All of them except the Jets were pretty terrible in 2011 (and the Bears had so many injuries that they were terrible). It’s easy to be mediocre and win against crappy teams, particularly when your defense pulls its weight.

  17. James in LA says:

    Not starting and facing the NYC sports press is going to be quite the downgrade for one who just 8 months ago threw a tantrum because he — Tim Tebow — was not selected to star in Denvert. Tebow requires maturation, and not a little.