NEW YORK — It's Tebow Time on Broadway.
The New York Jets acquired Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos on Wednesday, bringing the polarizing quarterback to a team that just recently gave starter Mark Sanchez a three-year contract extension.
Now, just a few weeks after "Linsanity" swept the New York area and the rest of the NBA with the Knicks' sensational Jeremy Lin, it's time for "Tebowmania" at the Meadowlands.
Tebow, who became expendable when the Broncos signed Peyton Manning to a five-year deal Tuesday, is expected to complement Sanchez, who received a $40.5 million contract extension, with $20.5 million guaranteed, earlier this month. Rex Ryan's Jets also had pursued Manning before bowing out on the sweepstakes when there was little interest by the four-time NFL MVP.
Denver general manager Brian Xanders said the Broncos will receive fourth- and sixth-round draft picks, while New York gets a seventh-rounder — all in 2012.
The trade first was reported by Fox Sports.
Tebow led the Broncos to the playoffs last season — along the way beating Sanchez and the Jets, who missed the postseason. But Denver executive John Elway believed Manning gave the team a better chance at winning a championship now.
For the Jets, Tebow is expected to add a versatile dimension to the offense, including running the team's wildcat package — something new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano enjoys using. He also provides a solid presence in a locker room that was strife with infighting last season — particularly between Sanchez and wide receiver Santonio Holmes.
He also brings with him a flock of fervent fans for reasons that have to do as much with his faith as his football skills. A devout Christian, he's been a role model since his days at Florida, when he led the Gators to two national titles and captured the Heisman Trophy.
Several teams, including his hometown Jacksonville Jaguars, reportedly were interested in acquiring Tebow.
The Jets had been relatively quiet in free agency, making a few moves that weren't exactly headline-makers, such as re-signing nose tackle Sione Pouha, kicker Nick Folk and linebacker Bryan Thomas, and signing safety LaRon Landry, wide receiver Chaz Schilens and backup quarterback Drew Stanton.
But, boy did they make an unlikely splash Wednesday by bringing in Tebow — a move that appeared to be a long shot, at best, as late as Tuesday night.
On Tuesday, Sanchez spoke highly of both Tebow and Manning on Fox Sports Radio in Los Angeles.
"I think Peyton is going to do great, and I think Tim is going to do great no matter what happens," Sanchez said on "The Petros & Money Show." ''He can learn from one of the best quarterbacks to ever play or he moves on somewhere else and uses his skills at another ball club. He definitely has talent. He knows how to win. He knows how to impact players, so both guys are really in a good situation. It'll work out for both of them."
The effect Tebow's presence will have on Sanchez remains to be seen. The Jets appear to be committed to him financially as their starter for at least the next two years, but a restless fan base that got down on Sanchez as he struggled late last season could call for Tebow to take over at the first sign of trouble.
However, two minutes after the Jets posted about the trade on its Facebook page, there were 874 "likes," 366 comments and 247 shares. Most of the comments ran along the lines of: "I might cry" and "He is not welcome here, another terrible decision."
It appears, though, Tebow will be coming to New York to give the Jets an element on offense they lost after not re-signing wide receiver Brad Smith last offseason. Smith was often used as the team's wildcat quarterback, and had some success catching defenses off guard.
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