NEW YORK — Tim Tebow is coming to New York. Really.
After a big false start, the New York Jets on Wednesday got the quarterback who turned the Denver Broncos from an also-ran into a playoff team last season and became the NFL’s most talked-about player — for a fourth- and six-round draft pick.
Now Tebowmania is opening on Broadway.
Eight hours after initially agreeing to a deal, the teams completed the trade that was hung up earlier Wednesday when the Jets apparently balked at repaying Denver more than $5 million for a salary advance due Tebow. ESPN reported that the two sides had agreed to split that cost.
The Jets also will get a seventh-rounder.
Denver started shopping Tebow after signing Peyton Manning, and the Jets were considered a long shot as late as Tuesday night. But New York went hard after Tebow, envisioning him as a versatile complement to starter Mark Sanchez, who received a $40.5 million contract extension, with $20.5 million guaranteed, earlier this month. The Jets also had pursued Manning, but fell out of that race early when there wasn’t mutual interest.
As part of Tebow’s $11.25 million, five-year contract he signed as a rookie in 2010, he had a $6.277 million advance due 29 days after the start of the 2011 league year. That money was paid to him in August after the NFL lockout ended. The trade stalled over the payment the Jets would owe the Broncos from that advance.
That allowed Jacksonville to get back into the hunt, and it came down to the Jaguars and Jets.
“As a former player, I know the last two weeks were not easy for Tim,” Denver’s John Elway said in a statement. “He was put in a difficult situation, and I commend him for how he handled it with the same first-class manner he displayed throughout his career in Denver.”
Despite ultimately pulling off the deal for Tebow, it’s just another bizarre moment for the Jets, a team that has had its share of them over the years, conjuring memories of Bill Belichick’s hiring as coach and his resignation one day later.
“Timsanity” now will take over New York, just a few weeks after “Linsanity” swept the New York area and the rest of the NBA with the Knicks’ sensational Jeremy Lin.
But not everyone’s a fan.
Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath, who led the Jets to their only Super Bowl title in 1969, was among those unhappy.
“I’m just sorry that I can’t agree with this situation. I think it’s just a publicity stunt. I can’t go with it. I think it’s wrong,” Namath told 1050 ESPN Radio on Wednesday. “I don’t think they know what they’re doing over there.”
The Jets will certainly have lots of explaining to do: Where was the misunderstanding? Who didn’t read the fine print? Why did the Jets announce the trade on its site and Facebook page before it was completely done?
Sure, they got headlines and were the talk of sports radio — even on a day when the New Orleans Saints received unprecedented punishment from the NFL for a bounty system that rocked the football world. Head coach Sean Payton was suspended without pay for next season, and former defensive coordinator Greg Williams, now with St. Louis, was banned indefinitely.
But even all that couldn’t overshadow another embarrassing episode for a franchise that has had to explain away several missteps in recent years.