Ordinarily, we begrudge a player's right to request a trade. More often than not, it is considered selfish. And to some extent, that is the case with Tim Tebow.
In this instance, though, is selfishness justified? That depends on whether you believe the New York Jets actually promised the backup quarterback an opportunity to take the reins if injury or poor play were to afflict starting quarterback Mark Sanchez.
According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, Tebow will request a trade if he is not given an opportunity to start before the end of the season:
Next domino in Jets QB situation: Tim Tebow will request to be traded/released after season assuming McElroy starts last 2 games, per source— Manish Mehta(@MMehtaNYDN) December 19, 2012
Tebow has every right to be disappointed with how things have gone, and a trade request may be just what the Jets front office needs to finally learn a valuable lesson in player and personnel decisions: think things through.
Too often, the Jets have taken a shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach to personnel decisions. This was never more evident than before the trade for Tebow, when reports surfaced that general manager Mike Tannenbaum had failed to read the fine print in Tebow's contract, which stated that the Jets owed him an extra $5 million.
Perhaps it was more evident when the Jets re-signed Sanchez to a two-year extension, fully guaranteeing him $8.25 million for 2013 and leaving the team with over $18 million in dead money if they cut him.
The benching of Sanchez and the report of Tebow's impending trade request have occurred so close to one another that the Jets would be blind not to see where they have gone wrong.
The Jets never had a clue how they were going to use Tebow. They spent the better part of the offseason listing the ways he would be used—from the read-option to the red zone to the personal punt-protector and everything in between.
For all that, he has played just 76 snaps on offense this year (exactly 10.2 percent of all their plays, according to Pro Football Focus).
Can Tebow play quarterback in the NFL? Can the read-option be successful long-term in the NFL?
No one can answer these questions with complete certainty, but the Jets haven't been willing to find out, and now, Tebow is on the outs.
Jets fans everywhere owe Tebow a thank-you letter.
If the front office can learn a valuable lesson from this, as well as the Sanchez debacle, he will end up being the team's Messiah after all.