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Jets Reveal Too Much in Tim Tebow Trade

A wild Jets Wednesday left a bad taste in the mouth

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012  |  Updated 2:46 PM EDT
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Looking Back: New York Jets 2011-12 Season

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There have been a lot of bad days in the annals of the New York Jets.

Humiliating losses, terrible injuries to star players and blown draft picks just scratch the surface for a franchise that hasn’t been to the Super Bowl since before men set foot on the moon. Heck, they’ve even had a coach resign via a note scribbled hastily on his way to the press conference introducing him.

Despite all that, the Jets may not have ever looked like more of a clown car of a franchise than they did on Wednesday while successfully making a trade. That’s really saying something.

There’s no other word for the entire Tim Tebow trade saga on Wednesday but debacle. Yes, they wound up with Tebow when all is said and done, but this was the football version of not wanting to see how the sausage is made.

We’ve already discussed why the idea of trading for Tebow makes little sense for a Jets team with far bigger needs than a backup quarterback who can run a package of plays, but we’ll rehash it quick and dirty right here.

His presence would do more to undermine Mark Sanchez than it would do to help the offense, especially in an NFL that’s increasingly slanted toward teams that can throw the ball at the expense of those who rely on power running to move the football.

There’s almost no way to envision Tebow helping the Jets win more games without seriously impeding or outright sabotaging Sanchez. Given the way everything went down, though, that’s the least important part of the whole equation. 

If the Jets had simply made a deal for Tebow, they could have sold it (or tried to sell it) as getting a player whose talent they believe in and who they believe can be a good player on a team that doesn’t have nearly enough of them.

You might not like it and you might not agree with it, but it’s not like adding a guy to challenge Sanchez is like spitting in the face of a guy who has made it clear he can thrive at the highest level.

As a purely football move, you can defend the Tebow acquisition, even with the admission that it is going to take this team into full-on carnival freakshow territory. On the way to ultimately getting the final rose in Tebow’s version of The Bachelor, though, the team all but released a statement that the football part of the deal was of no significance to them.

They were so desperate to generate the headlines of making a trade for Tebow and acquire a player who ranks second in the league in jersey sales that they rushed to announce it via their own website and Twitter without even bothering to read Tebow’s contract.

When someone actually got around to that, they realized that it would cost more than $5 million to bring Tebow to town and tried to wiggle out of the deal.

Only a front office and executive structure focused merely on the sizzle could totally ignore the steak on their way to agreeing to a deal with such massive implications on their franchise. Time and time again, the Jets of Woody Johnson and Mike Tannenbaum have gone for moves like this and not once has the move wound up lifting the franchise higher than it had been before the move was made.

You get the impression that they not only don't mind the fact that Tebow's presence will create controversy, but that they actually see that as a positive for the deal. That much seems clear after the way the Jets stampeded to every microphone in the tri-state area to discuss the miserable end to the 2011 season instead of taking a step back to actually try to make things better.

As long as their concern remains about grabbing for the spotlight on back pages and talk radio shows around the city, the Jets aren’t going to wind up getting what they so desperately want. That, of course, is to be thought of as superior to the Giants.

The Giants, you’ll note, only concern themselves with such temporal successes when they are playing against the Jets. The rest of the time it is about coming up with a plan, sticking to it, remaining patient when things don’t go their way and, ultimately, winning games.

That's not what the Jets are about in the Johnson/Tannenbaum era. They are about winning the offseason without paying any attention to how it impacts the years to come, as evidenced by their annual salary cap angst because of the way they constantly paint themselves into corners in order to sign one more shiny piece instead of building a roster sensibly.

Wednesday's trade was just one more example of this as the team prioritized adding a backup quarterback with a global following over finding players to fill spots that matter on the majority of snaps. For the sake of Jets fans, let’s hope this deal turns out to be the one that changes history and pushes the team places that it hasn’t been in more than four decades.

Right now, though, it feels just like the same old Jets.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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