After a few short days of speculation, former Broncos QB Tim Tebow was traded to the New York Jets on Wednesday for two picks in the 2012 draft, including a fourth-round and sixth-round pick. The Jets also received a seventh-round selection in the trade, and while two late-round picks aren't a sacrifice for New York, this trade should not have happened.
Of course New York wants Tim Tebow. If Broadway can showcase both Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow, the city will be home to two of the greatest sports stories in recent memory. Now that it's happened, New York City is officially the capital of Linsanity and Tebowmania.
The trade works out for the city of New York -- expect every Jets home game this season to be sold out -- but it won't work out for the Jets team or the organization. The trade didn't cost the Jets much, but it will prove to be very costly.
The New York Jets were the AFC Champions for the first two years under Rex Ryan, but last year, the 8-8 Jets didn't even make the playoffs. Sanchez had a decent year in terms of yards (3,474) and touchdowns (26), but he had far too many turnovers and interceptions.
But it wasn't just on Sanchez; the 2011 New York Jets suffered from a fractured and unhappy culture, where egos were bruised and chemistry was nowhere to be found. Players didn't work together, and the team had no big wins over any elite NFL teams.
The Jets looked to rebound this season after such a poor year, and the first thing the organization did to make that happen was to offer Sanchez a contract. Sanchez signed a three-year contract extension worth $40.5 million earlier this offseason, including $20.5 million guaranteed over the next two seasons. Until today, the quarterback position in New York was locked up.
Now, even if Mark Sanchez keeps his starting spot, New York fans will be chanting Tebow's name in the stands. It's how Kyle Orton eventually lost his job in Denver, and it's likely how Sanchez will lose his job, too.
It's not Tebow's fault. Fans follow this kid everywhere he goes, from Jacksonville, to Gainesville, to Denver, and now to New York. Tebow is electric on the field because you never know what's going to happen. He could throw a miracle pass, like the touchdown he threw in the 2011 Wild Card Game to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-23 in overtime, or he could scramble and run the ball. And he is a great runner: Last season, the Broncos were the best in the league in rushing with Tebow as the team's No. 2 running option.
On the Jets squad, Tebow can be the rushing threat that the team misses -- in run options, fakes, and two-point conversion scenarios -- since they sent QB Brad Smith to Buffalo. The fans will go nuts when they see Tebow on the field, but they'll go even more nuts when they don't.
Therein lies the problem. In 2011, Sanchez was frequently booed for his poor play, and even members of the Jets had started to doubt their own quarterback's talent and readiness. With Tebow now in the picture, New York fans -- those charming devils -- will be chanting WE WANT TEBOW after every bone-headed throw by Sanchez. It's a big distraction to a team that needs to address chemistry issues.
Rex Ryan thinks like a head football coach most of the time, but other times, he seems like the team's mascot. Here, in the case of bringing in Tebow, Ryan is being a mascot.
The news of Tebow coming to town is big news, and Ryan is probably patting himself on the back for hauling in such a big name free agent. But Ryan didn't think about Tebow's mere presence will affect his football team.
Tebow has a lot to contribute. He's a passionate person, he is driven to win, and he comes with a lot of fans. His football skill isn't all the way there, but he is an excellent teammate. Hopefully, Tebow will use this ability to bring New York's divided locker room together, but he won't be able to do that from the bench. I think Rex Ryan secretly knows that.