Tim Tebow to New York Jets: What Trade Means for AFC East
In New York, does the move really mean a perpetuation of the Rex Ryan-led three-ring circus?
Can Chan Gailey feel the aftershocks of the deal up in Buffalo?
Does it mean anything to the Miami Dolphins?
And could it possibly affect the defending AFC champion New England Patriots?
Here's a look at what Tebow's presence in the AFC East will mean for the division.
New York Jets
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The move will obviously have the most profound impact on a New York Jets team struggling to recover from falling to 8-8 after two consecutive AFC championship game appearances.
But it may not be a bad one for New York.
The soul-searching Jets have found a potentially killer combination in Tony Sparano and Tim Tebow, who together underscore New York's fundamental ground-and-pound identity.
Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano was hired, in part, for his mastery of the Wildcat offense. And Tim Tebow is the perfect piece to play in that system.
First, Tebow's pure athleticism makes him well suited for the Wildcat. In the Bronco's option system, he was quick and could tuck and run when another play wasn't there.
Tebow will be able to do the same in the Wildcat.
Furthermore, despite the additional $2.5 million charge the Jets incurred in his acquisition, New York will probably get more value out of the QB than any other team in the NFL.
For a quarterback who lacks an accurate arm and struggles to read coverages in throwing situations, New York has placed him in a situation where he can thrive.
Finally, the addition will bolster New York's run game.
The 2012 offseason has found the Jets looking thin coming out of the backfield.
With LaDainian Tomlinson unlikely to return, their only proven threat is running back Shonn Greene. The Jets can help mitigate this weakness by relying on Tebow's running skills in special situations.
Of course, the move may well be one of the Jets' worst ever.
It comes just two weeks after the organization gave Mark Sanchez a supposed vote of confidence by signing him to a three-year deal amidst doubts over his future in New York.
And the move comes after one of the Jets' most tumultuous seasons in recent years.
"Locker room discord" is an understatement for the deep tension that pried apart teammates as the Jets struggled through a disappointing season.
Sanchez's contract extension was drafted to throw unequivocal support behind the young QB, and in hopes of quieting the locker room sparring.
But the Tebow deal has completely unraveled that accomplishment.
Sanchez will enter the first year of his contract extension looking over his shoulder at a media sensation who could dethrone him.
To his credit, Sanchez has stepped up and played well in many of the highest pressure situations of his career.
But it remains to be seen whether the 10-12 plays per game Sanchez will sit out to make room for Tebow will light a fire up under No. 6 or leave him fuming.
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Despite that Tim Tebow overcame a 15-0 deficit to stun the Miami Dolphins in the final minutes of their meeting last year, the Fins actually come out on top in the Tim Tebow trade.
With Tebow on the Jets, Sparano's Wildcat will be utilized more often—and no one knows Sparano's Wildcat better than his former team.
They've run the Wildcat longer and better than anyone else.
And despite Miami's early-season struggles, it should be noted that they still finished the 2011 season boasting the NFL's No. 3 run defense, holding teams to just 95.6 yards per game.
Furthermore, the Dolphins have announced that they will switch their defensive scheme in 2012 from the 3-4 to the 4-3 formation.
This could improve their ability to halt the ground game.
Former NFL safety Matt Bowen attests, "As a safety [in the 4-3], it's a lot easier to play the run."
If the Jets' acquisition of Tebow is a signal that they have returned to their running roots, it will bode well for the Fins.
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The Buffalo Bills made moves in the free-agency market this offseason that have prepared them for almost anything an offense can throw their way.
Though AFC East foe Tom Brady was perhaps in mind when the Bills decided to beef up their pass rush, their resulting defensive squad is well equipped to handle the Sanchez-Tebow duo.
Buffalo is now home to top NFL rusher Mario Williams. As a Texan, Williams gave quarterbacks nightmares in the pocket.
But Williams is also elegant at stopping the run—which the Jets are sure to bring.
Playing alongside Williams will be former New England Patriot Mark Anderson who, in a part-time role with the Pats, racked up 10 sacks in the 2011 regular season.
Mark Sanchez will assuredly find himself on his back much of the time against the Bills.
And with a beefed-up D, Buffalo is likely to provide an encore to last year's Tebow massacre, which included three picks (two of which were returned for touchdowns) and a fumble.
Tebow or not, Buffalo's defense will be a formidable force in the AFC East against every team.
New England Patriots
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Surprisingly, the defending AFC champion New England Patriots may have lost a little ground in the division with New York's acquisition of Tebow.
New England has managed Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow in the past.
In fact, the Patriots were 4-0 against Sanchez and Tebow in their four meetings with the two quarterbacks last season.
In their final game against the Jets last year, New England picked Sanchez twice and sacked him five times.
And New England sacked Tebow twice and limited his offense to just 10 points to put an exclamation point on a 45-10 divisional-round rout of the Broncos in last year's playoffs.
But despite prior success against the pair, the Pats' weak D has not made great strides to improve during free agency.
The Patriots lost pass-rusher Mark Anderson to the Bills. Anderson was good for 12.5 sacks last year, including his contributions in the playoffs.
Although New England added Jonathan Fanene to its defensive front line, it has not done much else to try to improve defensively.
The Jets could ultimately take advantage.
If Tebow can get outside in the Wildcat, which he likes to do, he can avoid Vince Wilfork and potentially find an open field.
And if he confounds the Patriots' D for even a second and tosses up one of his wobbly spirals, I still don't trust a leaky New England secondary to do its job.
Furthermore, a run-heavy New York team will run down clock, meaning each team will get fewer possessions.
That gives Tom Brady less chances to score, which is how the Patriots won games last year when their defense was hovering at the bottom of the league.
Advantage is still to the Patriots in their rivalry against the Jets, but the score margin between the two teams may tighten with New York's addition of Tebow.