The New York Jets have informed quarterback Tim Tebow that he will be released, Brian Costello of the New York Post reports.
The Jets acquired Tebow on March 23, 2012 from the Denver Broncos, who had selected the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft. Tebow's first season with the Jets was forgettable as he failed to unseat or even pressure Mark Sanchez for the starting job and played in just 6.8 percent of the Jets' offensive snaps, according to official playing-time documents.
Tebow completed six of his eight pass attempts for 39 yards, was sacked twice, and gained 102 yards on 32 rushing attempts with zero touchdowns after rushing for 12 touchdowns over his first two seasons in the NFL. Tebow had a larger role on the Jets' special teams units, serving as a part-time decoy/personal punt protector on 12.72 percent of the special teams plays.
Releasing Tebow has been expected for months as the Jets have a logjam at the position, especially after adding West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft. There was no trade market for the polarizing passer, which prompted the decision to place Tebow on waivers Monday. After the Jets picked Smith, there were reports that the Jets were considering releasing Mark Sanchez, but his $8.25 million base salary is fully guaranteed with no offset language (the Jets would still have to pay the full amount if Sanchez signed elsewhere) and there would be significant salary cap ramifications.
With Smith expected to need time before he's ready to start, Sanchez remains the Jets' best option at quarterback as his closest competition for the starting job — veteran David Garrard — has had back and knee injuries that have kept him out of a regular season game since 2010.
Denver received two mid-round draft choices (which were used on center Philip Blake in the fourth round and linebacker Danny Trevathan in the sixth round) from the Jets, who also agreed to repay $2.531 million of a salary advance that Tebow received from Denver in his rookie contract. The Jets are still on the hook for $1.531 million of that repayment, which will count against the team's salary cap in 2013.
Since Tebow is not a vested veteran, he will be subject to waivers. Tebow has two seasons at base salaries of $1.055 million in 2013 and $895,000 in 2014, with large but likely unattainable base salary escalators available in the second season. Tebow will likely pass through waivers, at which point he will become a free agent and he and his agent, Jimmy Sexton of CAA Football, can find the best football fit on their own.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, Tebow's hometown team, had interest when the Broncos fielded trade offers in 2012, but new Jaguars GM David Caldwell ruled out the Jaguars as an option for Tebow when he was hired in January. With more NFL teams looking to incorporate the read-option into their offense, Tebow should draw interest on the free agent market, though it may be difficult for some of those teams, particularly those with first-year and first-time head coaches, to invite the circus that has accompanied Tebow to their facility.
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