Tim Tebow’s playing time with the New York Jets will depend on the success of the offense and its wildcat package, General Manager Mike Tannenbaum said.
Tebow, 24, will discuss his place as backup to quarterback Mark Sanchez during a noon New York time news conference March 26, the team said in an e-mail. The session was delayed from today because of a procedural issue with Tebow’s contract in Denver, according to ESPN.
Tebow will operate the Jets’ wildcat package, a run-first formation that utilizes multiple options to try to confuse defenses. He will get increased playing time if Sanchez struggles to move the offense, Tannenbaum said yesterday in an interview on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” show.
“If our offense is sputtering, we have three three-and-outs in a row and we roll this out there and it’s successful, then who knows,” he said. “It will depend on the game and the situation.”
Two days ago, the Jets traded fourth-and sixth-round picks in next month’s National Football League draft to the Denver Broncos for Tebow and a seventh-round selection.
The trade was confirmed late March 22 after originally being announced around noon New York time. It was delayed in a dispute arose over who would make a $5 million advance payment to Tebow, ESPN reported. The teams agreed to split the payment, the network said, without giving a source for its information.
The Walt Disney Co. unit then reported that Tebow will have to sign a rewritten contract with the Broncos today and remain on their salary cap for 24 hours. The procedural delay means Tebow won’t officially become a Jet until 4 p.m. tomorrow, ESPN said today, citing an unidentified person and without providing details of the latest contract issue.
Tebow’s popularity, work ethic and skill set drove the Jets’ interest, Tannenbaum said. With Tebow handling the team’s wildcat package, which new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano often used as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, the Jets will be harder for opposing defenses to prepare to face, he said.
“Tim is really effective with the ball in his hands, both running it and throwing it,” Tannenbaum said. “We think we can have explosive plays out of that package as well.”
Since 2009, the Jets have run the third-most wildcat plays in the league, according to ESPN. Tebow rushed for 660 yards last season, second among quarterbacks to Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers.
The Jets reached the American Football Conference championship game in 2009 and 2010 with the No. 1 and then the fourth-ranked rushing offenses in the league. Last season, they ranked 22nd with 1,692 yards rushing and missed the playoffs. Tebow’s Broncos led the NFL in 2011 with 2,632 yards rushing.
Sanchez signed a five-year, $58 million contract extension this month with more than $20 million guaranteed in the first two years, according to the New York Post, which cited a person it didn’t identify. The team also signed Drew Stanton this month and is considering carrying four quarterbacks, Tannenbaum said.