The New York Jets said today that quarterback Tim Tebow was coming to the team in a trade with the Denver Broncos but a contract detail was delaying final agreement on the deal.
The Jets said they had agreed in principle to the trade, but according to multiple reports, it was later discovered a provision saying that any team taking Tebow in a trade had to pay Denver $5 million for advance money already paid to the quarterback.
Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner with the University of Florida, helped lead the Broncos to the playoffs last season but was traded one day after Denver signed free agent Peyton Manning to a five-year $96 million deal.
"Tebow-mania just got a New Jersey address," the Jets proclaimed on their website.
That declaration might have been premature as the Jacksonville Jaguars and St. Louis Rams were reportedly back in the hunt for Tebow.
The Jets had initially agreed to acquire Tebow by sending a fourth-round draft pick and a sixth-round selection to Denver, who sent a seventh-round pick back to the Jets along with Tebow, according to the official NFL website.
Tebow's brother, Robby Tebow, playing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational Pro-Am today, told reporters the trade for Tebow was "almost back to square one."
"I think the Jags are back in play," said Robby Tebow, according to the Florida Times-Union. "It's almost back to square one. Other than that, we don't really know anything."
Robby Tebow said he was getting text messages from his brother during his round about the hold-up of the deal.
"We thought it was done, signed, sealed and delivered," Robby Tebow said. "Apparently they didn't read the fine print."
The deeply religious Tebow became one of the talking points of the NFL last season after he stepped in as starting quarterback and helped the Broncos overcome a 1-4 start with a six-game winning streak to finish the season 8-8 and win the AFC West title.
An 80-yard touchdown pass by Tebow on the first offensive play of overtime then lifted Denver to victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the playoffs.
They were knocked out a week later by the New England Patriots, who went on to reach the Super Bowl.
The Jets also finished last season with an 8-8 record, but fell out of playoff contention in the AFC East by losing their final three games.
The move by New York came after the Jets had signed young starting quarterback Mark Sanchez to a contract extension.
Tebow, a powerful runner and charismatic leader who completed only 46.5 percent of his passes last season, could find a role in a New York version of the Wildcat offensive package.
After last season, the Jets named Tony Sparano as offensive coordinator. Sparano was the architect of the Miami Dolphins' successful use of the run-pass, old-time formation when he was head coach there.
Tebow, a former first-round draft pick, became a sports and cultural phenomenon last season.
A college-style quarterback whose public displays of his religious faith polarized public opinion, Tebow inspired a wide following of fans.
The phrase 'Tebow Time' was coined to capture the fact that five times his Broncos won games with late comebacks despite his woeful completion rate.