Sources: Jets join Tim Tebow derby

Updated: March 21, 2012, 12:12 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Teams that have discussed a trade for quarterback Tim Tebow, either internally or with the Denver Broncos, include the Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

While one league source says the Dolphins are not likely to deal for Tebow, two sources told ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini on Tuesday night the Jets' interest in Tebow has intensified.

The Jets, who a league source originally categorized as "a long shot at best," are concerned about the negative perception of its locker room. The Jets were divided by player unrest last season, and "bringing in a guy like (Tebow) would help," one source told Cimini. "It makes perfect sense."

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum refused to comment Monday when asked about Tebow on "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN1050 in New York.

Denver is determined to trade Tebow sooner rather than later after signing Peyton Manning to a five-year, $96 million deal to be its starting quarterback. A trade for Tebow could be completed by the end of this week, if not sooner.

Manning said Tuesday he'd be happy to be Tebow's teammate, "but if other opportunities are presented to him, I'm going to wish him the best."

Manning was asked if he discussed Tebow's future with the team while he was negotiating to join the Broncos.

He said those aren't his decisions and that "those conversations never came up."

But, the quarterback said: "I know what kind of player Tim Tebow is, what kind of person he is, what an awesome year it was. If Tim Tebow is here, I'm going to be the best teammate. If other opportunities are presented to him, I'm going to wish him the best."

The Jets are intrigued by what Tebow could do in the wildcat offense. New coordinator Tony Sparano introduced the wildcat to the NFL as coach of the Miami Dolphins. That, coupled with Rex Ryan's desire to be a power-running team, has fueled organizational discussion on Tebow.

On the downside, there's concern Tebow's presence could create a distraction for incumbent Mark Sanchez, whose leadership came into question after the season. Sanchez recently received a three-year contract extension with $20.5 million in guarantees, all but ensuring he'll be the starter for at least the next two years.

"I don't know how he'd handle it," one source said of Sanchez. "That would be interesting."

Broncos executive John Elway said Tebow was disappointed but very positive when they talked about Denver's plans to sign Manning.

Elway said Tebow was "very positive. He's like, 'We're talking about Peyton Manning. I understand what you're doing.' "

Elway didn't say exactly what will happen to Tebow but, "It would be our goal for us to get [Tebow] in the best situation possible."

As for an outright release?

"He's a first-round pick," Broncos general manager Brian Xanders told The Associated Press. "He's just won the division, we were 1-4 at the time, he's got a guaranteed contract. I can't see that."

Tebow's base salaries for the next few seasons are very cap friendly: $1.942 million in 2012, $2.266 million in 2013 and $2.590 million in 2014.

A message was left by The Associated Press for Tebow and his agent, Jimmy Sexton.

Tebow took over a 1-4 team from Kyle Orton last year and led the Broncos to an 8-8 finish and the AFC West crown with a series of stirring comebacks that captured the attention of the football world.

Tebow-mania reached its apex in the playoffs, when he threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the very first play of overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. The next week, though, Tebow was smothered by the New England Patriots, who easily eliminated the Broncos, 45-10.

Afterward, Elway declared Tebow was Denver's starting quarterback heading into training camp this summer but said the southpaw would have to improve his flawed mechanics and footwork to win the job heading into the season.

"Tim Tebow's a great kid. If I want someone to marry my daughter, it's him," Elway said Tuesday. "Tim is a great football player, but with the opportunity that presented itself here, we had to take advantage of that."

Thomas said Tuesday in an interview with ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" that he believes Tebow can start again in the NFL because of his "determination and hard work."

He said he'll miss Tebow if he's traded but understood the team's signing of Manning.

"I'll miss him because he's a great guy, a leader and fun to be around ... but you know, it's a move the Broncos made and I'm looking forward to it," Thomas said.

Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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