Reasons why the Jets made the trade

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
1:58
AM ET
Before anybody had a chance to ask the first question, GM Mike Tannenbaum made sure to address the hot-button issue.

"Mark Sanchez is, has been and will be our starting quarterback," Tannenbaum told reporters Wednesday night during a conference call. "We’re adding Tim (Tebow) to be our backup quarterback and to play in other roles and packages."

Sanchez's long-term security is a question with Tebow's arrival via trade, but Tannenbaum said repeatedly that Sanchez is their guy. He said he spoke to both players individually and clearly defined their roles.

So why did the Jets make this controversial trade? Tannenbaum pointed to three reasons:

The wildcat. Tebow's running ability will allow new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano to use his full wildcat package -- and then some. Rex Ryan, too, is a proponent of the wildcat; he liked it a lot more than former coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, a source said. Tebow also can be used in goal-line, short-yardage and red-zone situations.

"What we’ve become is a diverse, more dynamic offense that’s going to make it more difficult for opposing teams to defend," Tannenbaum said.

Stability at quarterback. Tannenbaum noted that Tebow has three years remaining on his contract, Sanchez has five years left on his deal after his recent extension.

"It's exciting to know we've solidified that position," Tannenbaum said.

They also believe Tebow's contract is team-friendly. Not counting potential escalators, Tebow will cost them $6 million over the remaining three years -- and that includes the $2.5 million they had to pay the Broncos to settle a contract snafu that arose Wednesday during negotiations, a source said. (By the way, that $2.5 million will count on the Jets' salary cap, spread over three years, a source said.)

Fair compensation. The Jets gave up fourth- and sixth-round picks, but they got back a seventh rounder from the Broncos. By recouping that seventh (38 spots after the sixth), they feel it won't disrupt their draft plans too much. They still have six picks, plus any compensatory picks from last year's free-agent losses.

The Jaguars offered a fourth-rounder (slightly higher than the Jets' 4th) and $3 million to the Broncos, a source said, but the Broncos likes the Jets' offer better. Tebow preferred to be traded to New York because of the support he got from Jets front office and coaches, according to the sources, sources told ESPN Insider Adam Schefter.

DREW, WE HARDLY KNEW YE: QB Drew Stanton, a member of the team for less than a week, now faces an uncertain future. They signed him last week to be their No. 2 QB, giving a $500,000 signing bonus, but Tannenbaum made it clear that Tebow is No. 2. The Jets have four QBs on the roster, including Greg McElroy.

Tannenbaum said they will consider keeping four on the 53-man roster, but that didn't sound likely.

"That's a situation we'll need to address in the coming weeks," he said.

It's quite possible that Stanton could be a goner, which would be a wasted half-million bucks.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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