The Denver Broncos failed to get fair value for Tim Tebow. Remember, he was a late first-round pick just two years ago. Remember, he led the Broncos to the playoffs this season. Remember, he runs with the speed, power and elusiveness of a running back.
Yes, he has his flaws, beginning with that unruly left arm, but he's worth more than a fourth-round pick along with an exchange of later picks. The Jets pulled a steal on this one.
But this is not just a bad deal for the Broncos. It's a bad deal for Tebow. He goes from clear backup in Denver to clear backup in New York. Yes, it's possible Tebow could unseat the underachieving Mark Sanchez, but it's not probable. The Jets did not give Sanchez a three-season, $40.5 million contract extension earlier this month with the plan of making him a backup.
In Denver, Tebow would have been learning, if only by watching, from one of the all-time greats. In New York, Tebow will be sitting while learning little from a young quarterback who is struggling with his own flaws. Tebow heads to New York as a role player, a gimmick.
Tebow has potential. He might someday learn the finer points of passing mechanics and timing. If he can become a mediocre passer -- and I'm talking by NFL standards -- he could transform from question mark to superstar.
I understand it would have been difficult to keep Tebow. It's not his fault, but a circus follows him everywhere. His fans never are satisfied. They believe he's virtually perfect as a football player and a human being. His fans create a constant, annoying distraction.
The Broncos should have ignored the circus. The Broncos should have bet on Tebow's potential and kept him as a backup to Peyton Manning. His trade value would have grown along with his passing ability. John Elway was in far too much of a hurry to dump No. 15.
The leaders of the Jets saw what all of us saw on Nov. 18. On Denver's first 10 possessions, Tebow directed his offensive teammates to a total of 89 yards against the Jets defense. He struggled to pass, struggled to run, struggled to do anything.
On the Broncos' final possession, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy essentially threw out the playbook. The ball was snapped to Tebow, and he improvised. It was similar to watching kids play in the park. Glorified pickup football.
Tebow marched the Broncos 95 yards on the final, game-winning drive, which ended with his 20-yard sprint to the end zone. The march made no sense. It was entertaining and inspiring anyway.
Even those who are skeptical of Tebow and I'm one of those skeptics should be able to admit there's something magical about him. The skeptics also should see that he's an unfinished work. He's made suggestions that his future could be wonderful and awful, often in the same quarter.
I don't know. You don't know, either.
His future was worth more than a fourth-round pick. I do know that.
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