Denver started shopping Tebow after signing Peyton Manning, and the Jets were considered a long shot as late as Tuesday night. But New York went after Tebow, envisioning him as a versatile complement to 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.
It's just another bizarre moment for the Jets, a team that has had its share of them over the years, conjuring memories of Bill Belichick's hiring as coach and his resignation one day later.
The Jets would have lots of explaining to do - no matter whether the deal goes through or falls apart.
As part of Tebow's $11.25 million, five-year contract he signed as a rookie in 2010, he had a $6.277 million advance due 29 days after the start of the 2011 league year. That money was paid to him in August after the NFL lockout ended. The trade hit the hang-up when the Jets apparently balked at repaying the Broncos more than $5 million for the 2012-14 seasons from that advance.
Tebow led the Broncos to the playoffs last season - along the way beating Sanchez and the Jets, who missed the postseason. But Denver executive John Elway believed Manning gave the team a better chance at winning a championship now.
For the Jets, Tebow would add a versatile dimension to the offense, including running the team's wildcat package - something new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano enjoys using. He would also provide a solid presence in a locker room that was rife with infighting last season.
He'd also bring with him a flock of fervent fans for reasons that have to do as much with his devout Christian faith as his football skills.