The trade between the Jets and Broncos that would bring Tim Tebow to New York is in jeopardy of falling through, ESPN reports.
Earlier Wednesday, the Jets announced the deal on their Twitter page, and the Post confirmed they intended to send a fourth-round and a sixth-round pick in next month’s NFL Draft to Denver in exchange for the quarterback and a seventh-round pick.
However, ESPN is reporting the trade could be nullified due to some language in Tebow’s contract.
According to the report, Tebow has “$5 million worth of recapture language, meaning Jets would have to pay back money to Denver.” It is unknown if the Jets are willing to agree to a trade under those circumstances.
According to the Denver Post, “The contract says any team acquiring Tebow has to kick back $5.06375 million to the Broncos in advanced salaries from the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons, according to an NFL source.”
The newspaper speculates the Jets announced the trade before discovering that clause. It points out the Broncos did not announce the trade themselves.
“The Broncos expect the Jets to pay them back those salary advances from 2012-14 per Tebow’s contract. The Jets are balking. There is a decent chance this deal may die,” the Denver Post said.
Tebow’s brother Robby said Wednesday the Jaguars were “back in play” to acquire the quarterback. The Rams, who reportedly jumped into the talks Wednesday, also are in the mix.
“We’ve got to let this thing play out,” Robby Tebow said at a golf tournament in Orlando, Fla. “They’re still working on it, but the Jags are back in play now and it’s almost back to square one.’’
The confusion comes a day after the Broncos signed Peyton Manning to a five-year deal, making Tebow expendable in Denver. And it comes over a week after the Jets signed starting quarterback Mark Sanchez to a three-year contract extension, and signed Drew Stanton to backup Sanchez.
Tuesday, Sanchez spoke highly of both Tebow and Manning on FOX Sports Radio in Los Angeles.
“I think Peyton is going to do great, and I think Tim is going to do great no matter what happens,” Sanchez said on “The Petros Money Show.” “He can learn from one of the best quarterbacks to ever play or he moves on somewhere else and uses his skills at another ball club. He definitely has talent. He knows how to win. He knows how to impact players, so both guys are really in a good situation. It’ll work out for both of them.”
Tebow would give the Jets a new dimension at quarterback to complement Sanchez. Tebow could run the Wildcat formation, a favorite of head coach Rex Ryan and new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. The Jets also beat out the Packers, another team interested in acquiring Tebow, according to reports.
How the move would be perceived in the fractured Jets locker room remains to be seen. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie took to Twitter on Tuesday when reports began surfacing the Jets had interest in Tebow.
”We don’t need Tebow,” Cromartie wrote. “We sell out every home game. Let him go to Jacksonville, Tampa or Miami.”
As reports intensified, so did Cromartie’s belief the Jets do not need him.
“Y bring Tebow in when we need to bring in more Weapons for @Mark_Sanchez let’s build the team around him. We already signed to 3 year [extension],” Cromartie wrote Wednesday before the news broke.
A source told The Post earlier on Wednesday that the move was not to help fix the Jets’ locker room chemistry, as originally perceived, and was solely a football decision.
The move would not be an expensive one for the Jets. According to The Associated Press, Tebow’s base salaries for the next few seasons are salary-cap friendly: $1.942 million in 2012, $2.266 million in 2013 and $2.590 million in 2014.
A 2010 first-round draft pick (No. 25), Tebow led the Broncos to the AFC playoffs last year, where they defeated Pittsburgh then lost to New England. Tebow went 1-2 in starting the final three games of his rookie season and took over for Kyle Orton again this season after the Broncos started 1-4. They finished 8-8 and won the AFC West.
Tebow, known more as a runner than a prototypical throwing quarterback, led six game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime, including an 80-yard touchdown pass against the Steelers on the first play of overtime in their playoff game.
With Mark Cannizzaro; AP