- Rich Cimini, ESPN New York Jets reporter
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"Are we going to keep Tebow? Absolutely," Johnson said Wednesday morning during an interview on CNBC. "He'll be with us for three years. I think he's going to be a real valuable asset in terms of helping us win games."
Tebow, the Jets' backup quarterback, is under contract through 2014, so Johnson might be stating the obvious. The Jets have invested $3.6 million in Tebow -- $1.6 million in salary and bonuses for 2012, plus $2 million they're paying the Denver Broncos as part of the trade agreement. The Jets traded a fourth-round pick for him.
Despite a smaller-than-expected role in the offense, Tebow said he'd like to stay with the Jets.
"It's been great being here," he said. "I love being a Jet. I want to stay a Jet."
Tebow said "it means a lot to have that support, especially from an owner. You always want support from the top, so it's definitely encouraging."
Rex Ryan agreed with his owner, saying he'd like to keep Tebow for the remainder of his contract. But the coach also is realistic.
"There's no guarantee there that, if there's an opportunity to help your football team … then I guess no player is totally guaranteed that they'll be here," Ryan said. "Clearly, he's a guy we thought a lot of, and that's why we traded for him, and we still think a lot of him."
It's hard to imagine the ultra-competitive Tebow happy if he remains in a backup role. He allowed that "anything is possible. I don't know what the future holds."
Tebow has played in only 39 snaps on offense. He's a master at deflecting pointed questions about his role, downplaying any unhappiness, but he admitted he's not immune to frustration.
"I'm definitely someone who gets frustrated, but I know my role here right now," he said. "You just try to do the best you can and do a good job in practice to expand your role."
Starter Mark Sanchez said he could coexist with Tebow for two more years.
"I mean, it's going on right now," he said. "It's possible. It's going well for me. I feel good. If we start winning, we'll be all right."
Johnson, cognizant of the perception that he wants Tebow to start because it would fill the stadium, expressed strong support of Sanchez. But he wouldn't go as far to say that Sanchez never could get benched.
"Never is a long time period, but I see the same things in Mark Sanchez (as) when I first met him," Johnson said. "He's still a young quarterback. ... (Quarterback) is probably the most difficult position athletically and mentally that there is in all of sports."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Jets owner Woody Johnson says backup quarterback Tim Tebow will "be with us for three years," and also backs struggling starter Mark Sanchez.