Jets owner Woody Johnson yesterday defended the team's trade for Tim Tebow to Gang Green, saying they snagged the star quarterback for one reason: to win.
"We work for the fans, and the fans want us to win games," Johnson said yesterday at the NFL owners meetings at The Breakers Hotel in Florida in his first comments since headline-grabbing deal.
"All the decisions that we make regarding the team are just for football," Johnson said, "and our mission is to win games, pure and simple."
The Jets acquired Tebow from the Denver Broncos – along with a seventh-round draft pick – last Wednesday in exchange for fourth- and sixth-round picks in this year's draft. Each team will also pay half of the $5 million the Broncos advanced to Tebow.
"I think Tim Tebow will be a good addition to the team," Johnson said. "[H]e adds flexibility, versatility, he’s a great athlete, a big athlete. ... All those things are going to make us a better and stronger team going forward and I’m excited to have him on board."
Fans and even Jets players have been sharply divided on the trade, with many wondering whether it was a publicity stunt that undermines the team's commitment to current quarterback Mark Sanchez, whom the Jets just signed to a three-year, $20 million contract extension.
The Jets will hold a noon news conference Monday to formally announce the deal, but some current and former players aren't pleased with the attention the team is showering on him, according to the New York Post.
"How many times has a backup quarterback had a news conference?" former Jets lineman and ESPN analyst Damien Woody said this weekend, the Post reported.
He added: "It's a marketing ploy."
Still, Johnson yesterday reaffirmed the team's commitment to Sanchez, saying he's "really not [concerned]" about any adverse effect to Sanchez.
"We have so much confidence in Mark. The body of work he's given to us and the fans made it seem meritorious [to give him the extension," Johnson said.
"Being an NFL quarterback is among the hardest jobs you can have from a pressure standpoint, an athletic standpoint. Pressure is something that Mark has no problem with. Neither does Tim Tebow. Mark is very very good," he added.