We learned two things about Tim Tebow and Jacksonville today. First, that he pronounces his hometown team's name "Jagwires," and second, that it's absolutely true the Broncos let him choose his destination. He chose the Jets, and the Broncos shipped him to Jersey, despite the Jaguars offering a better draft pick and more money.
A crazy person once envisioned a world in which Jacksonville drafted Tebow tenth overall, and they instantly became a playoff team with a sold-out stadium. Gene Smith has said, reasonably, that tenth was a reach for Tebow. The market has backed it up, setting his trade value at a fourth-rounder despite selling a billion jerseys and winning a home playoff game. But the Jags had a second shot at Tebow, reaching out to the Broncos from the moment Peyton Manning visited Denver.
New Jags owner Shad Khan walks us through the thought process and negotiations surrounding Tebow's exodus from Denver, and clears up a lot of the questions raised by the Broncos' statement that Tebow was involved in selecting his new team.
The Jags were involved in the bidding, says Khan. To what extent, we don't know. But when the Jets trade stalled over money due the Broncos, they went in on him. Their final offer was a fourth rounder and $3 million dollars. We know now, as the Broncos did then, that the Jets were offering a later fourth-rounder and a sixth, and $2.5 million. And it sounds like, if Denver had held out a little longer, Jacksonville might've even gone to a third-rounder.
"It's well-thought, it's logical, we've offered more money and we have a higher draft pick," Khan said. "It's up to the player. It's not up to me. We've done everything."
On a conference call late that night, Tebow claimed he had no say in the matter—that they told him he was a Jet, and so he was. A little white lie, it turns out, though an understandable one: Tebow gains nothing by ticking off the Jaguars fan base by publicly spurning them. But in his introductory press conference today, Tebow backtracked a bit, admitting that the Jets quarterback situation was more appealing to him.
"The team was very gracious to ask me what I thought, and so I talked to him very honestly about it," Tebow said. "I told him I would love to be a Jet. I told him that also the Jaguars were my hometown (team), and so whatever was best for them. He said the same for me. Ultimately they had all the power, but they listened to me and what I had to say, and it was very gracious of them because they didn't have to do that."
Khan and the Jaguars say they're happy with how things turned out. Tebow's a consummate pro and would have worked hard every day, but why give up cash and a draft pick for a player who didn't want to be there? The Jets are obviously thrilled that they got their man, and their man wanted to be gotten. Which leads to the third angle of this threeway: a franchise actually accepting less in order to please a departing player. If a team can ever truly owe a player, the Broncos owed Tebow for the way he was repeatedly jerked around and discarded without even a whiff of job security. But Tebowmania in the Mountain Time Zone will fade, and the coldly analytical in the Broncos front office and fanbase might one day ask why they took a lower offer just to be nice guys. There's a time for largesse, and it's not when you've got two NFL teams bidding against each other for your wares.
Jaguars owner: Tim Tebow didn't want to come to Jacksonville [Florida Times-Union]
Tim Tebow was attracted to Jets because of Rex Ryan, coaching staff [Star-Ledger]