Tim Tebow got traded twice on Wednesday; both times ending up in New York.
Reports first came in early Wednesday, March 21st, that Tebow had been traded to the Jets. When I first heard the news, I uncontrollably squealed in excitement. Honestly, I’m not quite sure why. Probably because at that very moment, I was suffering from a severe case of Tebowmania. (Step aside, Linsanity.)
As much as I respect and admire Tebow as a person and a role model to young kids and aspiring athletes everywhere, I must be reminded of the fact that he is merely an average quarterback. Mechanics wise, throwing wise, and game-managing wise, he was probably the worst starting quarterback out of all 32 in the league last season. I remember hearing early on last year that in training camp, the Broncos had the scout team quarterback ahead of Tebow on the depth chart. That being said, he single-handedly beat the Jets last year, and led his team to a 7-1 record in his first 8 starts. Denver ended up clinching a playoff berth for the first time since 2005 and ended up pulling out a miraculous victory over the Steelers in the first round of the postseason. (It must be noted that the following week, the Patriots absolutely annihilated Denver which resulted in their elimination from the playoffs.)
As the day went on and on, and I got more time to think the trade over, I realized how idiotic of a trade it truly was. The Jets had wanted to sign a somewhat-talented backup quarterback in order to push Sanchez and to keep him from feeling that he was automatically entitled to a starting job. Drew Stanton doesn’t exactly fit that description, but beggars can’t be choosers, so I couldn’t complain. So explain this to me: why in the world would the New York Jets, a (hardly) professional football team, be interested in acquiring Tim Tebow, but pass up on Peyton Manning?
With Manning, they clearly didn’t want to put all of their eggs in one basket, because they didn’t want to mess with Sanchez’s confidence. If they went public and said, “It’s Peyton or bust” and didn’t get him, Sanchez would’ve obviously been upset. That is completely understandable, and I believe they made a nice decision in restructuring and extending Mark’s contract. With Tebow, however… I mean really, this just makes no logical football sense.
With Tebow, the Jets decided to acquire an unproven, young quarterback who has struggled with his accuracy and mechanics for two years, just to generate some buzz around New York (and the league for that matter.) Wanting a superstar (Manning) is understandable. Wanting a national headline yet below-average quarterback (Tebow) just makes no sense whatsoever. And we’re barely scratching the surface here.
The Jets missed something in Tebow’s contract, yadda yadda yadda (poor Seinfeld reference) and there was speculation that Tebow may not be traded to the Jets after all. After pondering it for awhile (and listening to crazed, outraged Jet fans on Mike Francesa’s radio show) I decided that the trade made no sense at all, and I truly believed that the deal would be nullified and we Jet fans would be saved. One caller on Francesa’s radio show said he would be Tebowing as soon as he heard the deal was nullified. It was overwhelming to hear how just about everyone criticized the deal. Everyone said that it made no sense, and that New York would be stupid to go through with it, but the Jets struck again.
For the 2nd time in one day, it was announced that Tebow had been traded to the Jets. I sat down and analyzed the deal once more, just so I could maybe find the slightest amount of hope seeping through the cracks, but all I found were more reasons to hate this trade.
To begin analyzing the trade, I must first stress the importance of a key factor that makes the trade seem even more ridiculous. The Jets, after announcing that they did not want Peyton Manning, extended Mark Sanchez’s contract. This new contract gave the Jets more cap space to make a splash in free agency this year. For those of you who don’t know, more cap space essentially means that you have more money to spend. The Jets ended up giving this money to Denver via Tebow’s contract; this cash is what almost nullified the trade earlier. The yadda yadda yadda in one of the above paragraphs fails to convey the message that the Jets didn’t completely read Tebow’s contract the first time. All it did was add more drama to the situation. “Will the trade be nullified? Where will Tim play? How did the Jets not see this $5 million in Tim’s contract?” These questions make it seem like this entire trade was fabricated just to draw the spotlight onto New York; the Jets that is. It seems like, with this stupid deal, all the Jets wanted to do was steal the limelight from it’s counterpart. After all, the Giants did just win a Super Bowl, and were the talk of the town amongst New York football fans. It’s almost like a jealous brother or sister trying to one-up his or her sibling. It’s pretty sad, and being a Jets fan, I’m embarrassed. And trust me, as a Jets fan, I’ve been very, very embarrassed at some points in my life.
Now, let’s analyze. The Jets get Tebow and a 7th round pick, while giving up a 4th and 6th rounder as well as the cash that Denver wanted NY to pay from Tebow’s contract. The problem I have with the Jets giving away these draft picks is that they could’ve used them to help their team. Those two picks probably would’ve resulted in the Jets getting two players that actually would’ve helped them on the field, not in jersey sales. The Jets still have some glaring needs that they have failed to address in free agency so far. First of all, they need a pass rusher; we all know that. The thing I didn’t particularly like about the Jets partial pursuit of Peyton (say that 5 times fast) was that they could’ve gone after an actual need on their team had they pursued Mario Williams. Williams is an elite pass-rushing outside linebacker/defensive end that the Jets have needed for years. Instead of pretending to go after a quarterback, a position which they essentially were fine at, they should’ve gone after a player who actually played a position that the team needed. Instead, the Jets O-Line will have to block him (at least) twice every year for the (at least) next 6 seasons because he’s now in Buffalo, and in their division.
In addition to a puss rusher, the Jets could also use some help in the backfield (they have one somewhat proven starter in Shonn Greene, but not much else.) I think that they’ll use a 3rd round pick on a running back, assuming they don’t trade more draft picks away for quarterbacks that couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. However, keep an eye out in the draft; if Trent Richardson is somehow available at 16, don’t be surprised if the Jets take him. The Jets also need help at right tackle, because the image of Wayne Hunter attempting to block Mario Williams next year makes my head hurt. Finally, they could also use some help at receiver, which I hope they find by bringing back Braylon (say that 5 times fast), as well as some aid at safety, because LaRon Landry and Jim Leonhard are both injury prone and Eric Smith is a special teams player, not a starting defensive back.
Let me just say one final thing about free agency. The Jets best move this offseason was to release Mr. Holding Penalties himself, Matt Mulligan. He averaged more penalties per game than he did catches.
This was a pretty long piece, but there was so much I needed to say. I’m probably even missing a few things that I wanted to include but forgot about because there were so many necessary facts I wanted to include. In conclusion, Jets fans, be confused. Be very confused. Because I don’t know how this trade helps our football team in terms of winning games. Listen, Tebow is a proven winner, but with Mark as our starting quarterback, (and believe me, he WILL be the starter next year) I just don’t see how he will produce for us other than playing in goal-line situations. There’s still hope Jets fans; I know there is. I just have no idea where to find it.