Tim Tebow holding out? What's a reasonable price to pay the Broncos' new messiah?

Tomorrow is the day when Denver Broncos rookies are supposed to report in advance of training camp -- but there's a very good chance Tim Tebow won't be among them. That's because a finalized contract is the price of admission, and at this writing, Tebow still hasn't signed on the line that is dotted. Why not? Agreeing on a price tag has been tricky -- and despite how much Josh McDaniels loves his new boy, the squad would rather not let hype dictate his salary.

While plenty of fans expect that Tebow will be under center before the season is out, he may not get on the field for anything other than occasional stunt work, what with both Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn ahead of him on the QB depth chart. And while he may have been the draft pick to receive more attention than anyone else earlier this year, it wasn't because he was a single-digit selection. He was chosen toward the end of the first round -- and there were plenty of prognosticators who thought the Broncos could have waited for one or even two more rounds and still wound up with him.

By moving up to snag Tebow, the Broncos will have to pony up first-round dough -- and if the Denver Post is right, that'll translate to a five-year deal worth approximately $12 million, with $8 million of that total guaranteed.

Should Tebow become the Broncos' starter, and perform well on the field, this amount will seem like a bargain -- so much of one that it'll have to be renegotiated long before the contract expires. But if Tebow either winds up sitting more than playing or performs poorly, it'll be a waste, albeit one that's not nearly as colossal as it could have been. Note that back in 2007, former Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell signed a $61 million deal, with $32 million guaranteed -- an amount that could buy a helluva lot of drank.

Presumably, we won't have to worry about such shenanigans when it comes to good-guy Tebow. But neither are we likely to see his smiling face at Dove Valley first thing tomorrow morning.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts