The big signing in terms of its football impact during the 2012 NFL offseason is, without question, the acquistion of former Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning by the Denver Broncos. The future Hall of Famer's five-year deal with the franchise that John Elway built automatically vaults them to contender status in the AFC.
From a locker room culture standpoint, however, there is another team that may have unintentionally made even bigger waves. The New York Jets, ostensibly looking to not only add a capable backup behind QB Mark Sanchez, but also to add a possible element of surprise to their offense, snatched up former Denver quarterback Tim Tebow in the aftermath of the Manning sweepstakes.
As a football move, the decision by Jets' management to sign Tebow was indeed a smart one. One only has to look at what happened to the Colts minus Manning to realize the importance of a franchise having a reliable backup quarterback. Plus Tebow brings a particular skill set that would allow the Jets to once again run their version of the 'wildcat,' a formation they ventured away from with the departure of Brad Smith.
The problem for the Jets, however, lies with the possible dissension in the locker room that Tebow may unintentionally provide. No one can deny that Tim Tebow has a contagious work ethic and personality; even guys like the Chicago Bears' Brian Urlacher walk away impressed after meeting the man. Yet it is quite possible that the rest of the Jets' locker room get swept up in the media sideshow that is Tebow Mania, and thus create a division between themselves and the current starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez.
Sanchez did not sign a huge contract extension just so he could be replaced by a feel good story quarterback that won a Wild Card Playoff game in his first year as a starter. Sanchez himself led the Jets to two consecutive AFC Championship games. He has defeated the New England Patriots, a team that Tebow struggled mightily with last season, on multiple occasions. Since he came into the league, the Jets have not had a losing record either. Impressive considering even the great Peyton Manning had to endure at least one season of failure before taking his team to the next level.
Which is why it is imperative that Rex Ryan, the outspoken head coach of the Jets, needs to nip this thing in the bud before it gets out of hand. He needs to reaffirm that he is the captain of this ship, and what he says is the law, no questions asked. He also needs to sit down with Mr. Tebow and tell him he is starting from square one again, and that there is only one leader of New York's offense - Mark Sanchez.
This is not a personal attack on Tim Tebow, but rather an observation about another football move that looks good on paper but could blow up in everyone's face. After all, this is the same man who, despite proclaiming ad nauseum how humble and grateful he is to have the opportunity to do something he truly enjoys, is, after all, just a man. He is not perfect, and if recent rumors of his side door entrance to the Broadway show 'Wicked' are to be believed, he might just be letting all this notoriety get to his head.
That is where a dose of the mouth of Ryan would come in very handy. A man seemingly never at a loss for words, Rex Ryan needs to make sure that he and Tebow and the rest of the Jets are on the same page about the ex-Broncos' role. Otherwise the 2011 season could be child's play compared to the turmoil that awaits this season.