Tim Tebow traded to Jets

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) and

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) and Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) walk off the field together after an NFL football game, in Denver. Tebow has been traded from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets. (Nov. 17, 2011) (Credit: AP)

Tebow-mania is here. But it wasn't easy.

After a bizarre day of twists and turns, the Jets finalized a trade with the Denver Broncos for polarizing quarterback Tim Tebow after it appeared the deal had fallen apart.

The Jets thought they had completed the deal for Tebow early Wednesday and announced it on their website and on Twitter. The trade hit a snag when, according to reports, the Jets learned they would have to pay Denver $5 million because of a clause in Tebow's contract.

The Jets apparently balked at paying the Broncos, leading both sides back to the negotiating table and giving Tebow's hometown team -- the Jacksonville Jaguars -- another chance to land the quarterback.

In the end, the Jets sent a fourth- and sixth-round pick in April's NFL draft and half of the $5 million to Denver for Tebow and a seventh-round pick.

"I'm very thankful to end up with a great organization like the Jets with a great coach like Coach [Rex] Ryan, a coach that I would love to play for,'' Tebow said in a conference call Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-3, 236-pound Tebow, who won two national championships and a Heisman Trophy while playing for the University of Florida, became available after the Broncos signed Peyton Manning to a five-year, $96-million contract on Tuesday. The Jets had shown interest in Manning as well.

Tebow, 27, will not compete for the starting quarterback job with Mark Sanchez, whom the Jets re-signed to a three-year contract extension on March 9.

"Mark Sanchez is, has been and will be our starting quarterback," Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said Wednesday night. "This is another opportunity to add a playmaker, a backup quarterback who can do some things."

Said Tebow about Sanchez: "I had a great conversation with him and we have been blessed to be friends for the last several years. I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time with him.''

When asked if he had input in where he was headed, Tebow said, "Ultimately, I didn't have any because the Broncos had all that power and they were very gracious."

Tebow, who is not considered a good passer, will be featured in the Jets' Wildcat offense, which relies on a quarterback who can run with the ball. The Jets' new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano ran the Wildcat with his former team, the Miami Dolphins.

While the trade was on hold Wednesday, the Jets' legendary quarterback Joe Namath ripped his former team's decision to trade for Tebow. The Hall of Fame quarterback, who led the Jets to their only Super Bowl title in 1969, was unhappy with the deal.

"I'm just sorry that I can't agree with this situation," Namath told 1050 ESPN Radio. "I think it's just a publicity stunt. I can't go with it. I think it's wrong. I don't think they know what they're doing over there."

Tebow received national attention this past season because of his strong religious beliefs and for leading the Broncos on a string of stirring comeback victories, which included an overtime win in the playoffs against the favored Pittsburgh Steelers. Tebow's enormous popularity led to the "Tebowing" fad, where people kneel like Tebow in random places.

"Tim Tebow deserves an enormous amount of credit for what he accomplished and how he carried himself during his time with the Broncos," Broncos head of football operations John Elway said. "From taking over a 1-4 team and leading it to the playoffs to energizing our fans and this community, Tim left an extraordinary mark on this organization."

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