There are lots of reasons Jets fans might give while explaining why they didn’t like the Tim Tebow trade. Things like, Tebow isn’t a good quarterback, or the Jets didn’t need the “circus” atmosphere he’s brought. The argument continues as to whether the trade was good or bad but here is the real reason why this trade should have never taken place.
The Jets had been aggressive when it came to building the team over the last several years. They had the fewest draft picks of any team 31 (league average 48) than any team in the league over the past six drafts. The Jets chose to acquire veteran players, via free agency or for draft picks, and trade up in drafts opting for “ready-made” instead of more developmental prospects.
This team building philosophy does have a price as the Jets were pushed hard against the salary cap in 2012 and are an estimated $19 million over 2013’s cap. During the 2011 offseason the team was looking to obtain the top free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha but this offseason they took a cautious approach signing mostly veteran minimum deals and one year stop-gaps. Obviously the Jets front office understood they would need to take this different approach to ensure future financial health of the team.
With the certainty of veteran players being released next season along with a continued cautious approach to free agency it seemed like the draft would be utilized to “restock” the shelves with younger cheaper players.
The Jets signed Drew Stanton to back up starting quarterback Mark Sanchez to a $1.25 million contract ($750,000 base, $500,000 signing bonus). After trading for Tebow the Jets traded Stanton to the Colts and basically acquired a sixth round pick they had used getting Tebow. Unfortunately Stanton’s $500,000 signing bonus remained on the Jets 2012 books.
So a team with limited financial resources and in need of young talent decided that it would be a good idea to trade for a “luxury” item like Tebow. In the process they gave up a 4th (#108) round pick and took on approximately $2 million in additional salary cap cost for 2012 and guaranteed salary for 2013.
This has nothing to do with Tebow the player, fact is Tebow could win the Super Bowl for the Jets, and this would still be a poor decision given where the team was at that time of the trade just like giving Mark Sanchez a contract extension was a bad decision and undeserved when it was made. The Tebow trade didn’t fill a hole just used financial and draft resources two things the Jets really needed.
When building a team they have to look at the current situation and it was obvious the Jets couldn’t afford luxury items, so this is why the Tebow trade should never have happened. This organization is now faced with more questions than ever, but ask yourself this, are you confident given their decision making process that the Jets will make the correct ones to build the Super Bowl Champion we all desire?