Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Tim Tebow is swapping the Colorado Rockies for the New Jersey Meadowlands!

On Wednesday, ESPN confirmed that the star Denver Broncos quarterback, 24, was traded to the New York Jets in a deal where the Broncos received the Jets' fourth-round and sixth-round picks in the upcoming 2012 NFL draft.

The shocking trade comes just hours after Peyton Manning, 35, who was released from the Indianapolis Colts March 7 after a 14-year run with the team, was signed to the Broncos with a five-year, $96 million contract Tuesday.

But even more surprising is that Tebow, who has captured fans' hearts with his golden-boy image, will take a backseat to Jets starting quarterback Mark Sanchez.

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Tebow had a huge 2011 season, which was only his second one in the pros (he was a first-round pick in 2010). As the team's full-time starting quarterback, he led them to win the AFC West title and even went to the Super Bowl XLVI playoffs to only be defeated by Tom Brady's New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.

The Jets will honor the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner's contract, on which he still has three years left. (His base salary for 2012 is $1.1 million.)

Meanwhile Sanchez, 25, who has been tied romantically to celebs including Jamie Lynn-Sigler and Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton, just received a three-year, $40.5 million contract extension that was granted to him two weeks ago.