Former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum takes responsibility for decision to acquire Tim Tebow

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

Last week, former NFL general manager Ted Sundquist told Rich Cimini of ESPN New York that during his recent interview for the then-vacant New York Jets general manager post, owner Woody Johnson said that trading for quarterback Tim Tebow was something was "forced" on himself and team president Neil Glatt.

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Johnson denied that was case, but is now receiving a mulligan of sorts from former GM Mike Tannenbaum, who tells Cimini that acquiring Tebow from the Denver Broncos was his idea.

"I'm disappointed it didn't work out, just like I'm disappointed when certain draft choices don't work out," Tannenbaum told Tuesday. "We put in a lot of time and effort. We had a rationale for it. At the end of the day, it didn't go as we had planned.

"Once we met on it and talked about it, ultimately that was my decision to trade for Tim," Tannenbaum said.

The Jets traded picks in the fourth- and sixth-round of the 2012 NFL Draft for Tebow and agreed to repay the Broncos a prorated portion ($2.53 million, $1.53 million of which is due in 2013) of a salary advance that Tebow received in 2011. Tebow could not unseat Mark Sanchez from the top spot on the quarterback depth chart and was primarily used as a personal punt protector on special teams. According to official playing-time documents, Tebow logged just 73 plays on offense, 59 plays on special teams and when head coach Rex Ryan decided to bench an ineffective Sanchez for a Week 16 game with the San Diego Chargers, he named 2011 seventh-round pick Greg McElroy the starter, bypassing Tebow, who then declined to participate in "Wildcat" plays designed for him in what turned out to be a 27-17 loss.

Tebow is expected to be traded or released by the Jets this offseason.

"We thought there was a role for him," said Tannenbaum. "Working with Rex every day, and seeing the way the league has evolved with the ball being in the quarterback's hands and making plays with your feet, we thought it would give us a chance to make our offense more dynamic. It just didn't work out that way."

Tannenbaum has kept a very low profile and his interview with Cimini are his first public comments since being fired by Johnson on Dec. 31. Between the Tebow trade, the contract extension and money guaranteed to Sanchez last March, the Jets' salary cap being a mess that new GM John Idzik will have to clean up, and how GM positions, unlike coaching vacancies, are rarely filled by former GMs (Bruce Allen of the Washington Redskins is the only former GM in a GM-type role) it's hard to imagine another team giving Tannenbaum the keys to the franchise, so there really was no reason for him to be anything but brutally honest about a situation that only people in Denver thought worked out well.

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