Lots of amateur Darren Rovells got cranky last week when Tim Tebow went to the Jets instead of the Jaguars. They said the Jags had erred in not trumping the Jets' offer to acquire the hometown prince, who would have been good for attendance or jersey sales or something. Hogwash.
We soon learned that Tebow himself spiked the deal. Jacksonville had a better offer than the Jets did—$3 million in cash to the Jets' $2.5 million. Denver nonetheless let Tebow choose his destination, and Tebow chose New York. Jacksonville, surprisingly, should consider this good news.
As the Florida Times-Union explains, Jacksonville could have trounced the Jets offer, but it would have meant trouble:
If Tim Tebow didn't want to come to Jacksonville, sending a third-round pick to the Denver Broncos, a move that likely would have resulted in the Broncos taking the decision out of Tebow's hands, would have been counterproductive.
"That would have been the worst thing for Jacksonville and the worst thing for him," Jaguars owner Shad Khan told the Times-Union at the NFL's annual league meetings. "He didn't want to come, obviously. … Any one of the 53 players we have, have to be committed to Jacksonville, making us be the best team we are. The question was: Did he want to come? And if the decision had been taken out [of his hands] and we got him, that would not be good for him, or for us."
That's not to say Jacksonville didn't want Tebow. He had been on Shad Khan's radar since he purchased the team toward the end of last year. Like any good businessman, he polled the people of Jacksonville, and Tebow's name kept coming up. When Denver started shopping Tebow in February, Khan made his team's interest known. During the courtship, Jacksonville picked up on the contractual clause that the Jets missed, and they continued pursuing Tebow after the money snag made other teams drop out. (Khan says the experience proved "Jacksonville football operations has very good legal skills," which I suppose is both true and hilarious.)
But they got lucky by missing on him. Jacksonville has a true prospect at its quarterback position—Blaine Gabbert, despite his horrendous rookie season, is only 22. (Mark Sanchez, for comparison's sake, is 25 years old and has three awful seasons under his belt.) And the Jaguars just signed Chad Henne, who is admirably average. In his three seasons starting in Miami, Henne ranked 21st, 22nd, and 19th in Football Outsiders' DVOA metric. (Again, for comparison, Mark Sanchez was 35th, 28th, and 28th, and Tebow was 37th last year. Gabbert was—yikes—46th.)
Jacksonville already has a still-viable quarterback of the future and a viable quarterback for next year and beyond. They signed free agents Aaron Ross and Laurent Robinson and brought all their own free agents back. They have the seventh overall draft pick. Why would they need Tebow, really? Why sell jerseys when you can win?
Jaguars owner: Tim Tebow didn't want to come to Jacksonville [Florida Times-Union]