NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Multiple reports have surfaced saying that the Jets are now legitimate contenders to land Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
Late Tuesday afternoon online reports from ESPN and some of the New York City daily newspapers revealed the Jets have a genuine interest in acquiring Tebow, a player who became available when the Broncos came to an agreement with four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning on a five-year, $96 million contract.
The interest was first characterized as "discussions," but later augmented to "legitimate," according to the reports. It has also been widely reported that the Broncos' asking price for Tebow figures to be around a fifth- or sixth-round draft pick.
Tebow has drawn interest from several teams, including the Patriots, Jaguars, Packers and 49ers. On Tuesday, the Dolphins appeared to drop out of the race, reports stated.
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If the Jets acquire Tebow, who has become a national phenomenon due to his heroics during the 2011 season, there will undoubtedly be mixed reactions. Though his play has inspired many throughout the land, most NFL experts and a great number of fans have a hard time taking him seriously due to his poor throwing arm.
Jets defensive back Antonio Cromartie tweeted the following on Tuesday afternoon: "We don't need Tebow. We sell out every home game let him go to Jacksonville Tampa or Miami."
However, Tebow was basically a one-man offense in Denver this past season due to his legs as he ran for 660 yards and averaged 5.4 yards per carry in guiding the Broncos to within a win of the AFC Championship game.
Despite having 1,000-yard back Shonn Greene, the Jets are still viewed as having legitimate needs in their backfield and Tebow, if acquired, figures to be featured as an H-back or the quarterback, but almost exclusively out of the "wildcat" formation. It's highly unlikely Tebow would ever be used as the every-down quarterback because the Jets just gave starter Mark Sanchez a three-year, $40.5 million extension, signed Drew Stanton to be his backup and are developing Greg McElroy, who is in his second season out of Alabama.
Cromartie tweeted that the Jets have no real reason to go messing around with the quarterback position.
"Our wildcat offense can b ran by (Jeremy) Kerley or Joe McKnight. We straight," Cromartie tweeted.
One advantage the Jets would have if they acquired Tebow is offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. He is considered the godfather of the wildcat formation, having run it with great success during his nearly four seasons as the Dolphins head coach. The Jets appear to still have an affinity for the wildcat due to the fact that they were successful using it during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. However, the Jets basically abandoned the strategy last season, struggled to run the football out of any formation due to injuries along their offensive line, and finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs.
But their interest in Tebow seems to suggest the wildcat could be back on the menu for 2012.
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