Tim Tebow will not be a member of the New York Jets next season. With Mike Tannenbaum out the door as Jets general manager and head coach Rex Ryan still around, it is obvious that Tebow was not an item Ryan craved.
The limited use of Tebow, despite offensive struggles that took on epic proportions, shows Ryan was never convinced of Tebow’s abilities as a quarterback. Make all the jokes about Mark Sanchez you want. He was a better quarterback option than Tebow, at least in the mind of Rex Ryan.
Reports surfaced late in the year that Tebow—seemingly feeling disgruntled about not being given a chance to show his abilities as a quarterback—asked to be taken out of the teams’ most successful offensive package, the Wildcat.
Remember that the organization is bigger than one player—even one as popular as Tebow. For that reason, whoever takes over the reigns as general manager must see eye-to-eye with Ryan about Tebow, as well as every other issue that surrounds the franchise.
And for that reason, Tebow should be prepared to leave the Big Apple after one maximally disappointing season.
The $1 million question becomes, “Where does Tebow go?” Tebow would be wise to ask, “What’s the best spot for me?”
Given Tebow’s evangelical beliefs and desire to do good works, he likely has a split motivation when thinking on that question. The best place for him on the football field may not be the best place for him to impact the most people off the field. Logically, the ideal landing spot would be the one that gives him the best chance to play and win, while also securing for him great opportunities off the field as well.
Of course, Tebow still has two years remaining on his rookie contract. In that time, though, he’s only owed roughly $3.4 million—which is about average for a backup quarterback in the NFL. The two years on his contract means he does not automatically get to choose his next team the way a free agent would able to, but it’s also unlikely the Jets would not try to acquiesce his request to be dealt to a particular team so long as it works for them.
For some team, the next two years could serve as a tryout. If he proves his worth as a backup—and gets in games and wins them, he could be asked back for a great chunk of change. If he does not, he could go elsewhere.
So what teams work for Tebow? Here are a few potential landing spots.
The Jaguars just fired head coach Mike Mularkey after one season on the job. Jacksonville has long been considered the ideal landing spot for Tebow since it is so close to Gainseville—the birthplace of Tebow’s national fame when he was twice a national champion at the University of Florida.
Fellow first round pick, Blaine Gabbert, is joined by former second round pick Chad Henne as the current quarterback options in the River City. Neither has lived up to the hype. At least Tebow has helped his team make the playoffs—and win one game while there—as a member of the Broncos a season ago.
Throwing him into the mix with whomever becomes Jacksonville’s new coach—San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman is considered a top option—would make the one player who comes out the other side a better player.
And if Roman is the man in Jacksonville, it would be an ideal scheme fit for Tebow. The running game would thrive and take the pressure off Tebow as a passer. Roman, too, would undoubtedly take advantage of Tebow’s physical running style.
With Jacksonville crime rates at a percentage much greater than the state and national averages, it is a city in need of the gospel Tebow unashamedly preaches. That would seem to add a point to Tebow’s scaling system.
One cannot ignore the ticket sales and merchandise revenue that would undoubtedly result from a Tebow move being made by the Jags. The Jags would certainly have to consider this move. It is the best possible situation for Tebow as well. He’d be thrilled to land back in the state of Florida.
New England Patriots
Josh McDaniels is currently the offensive coordinator in New England—he of the infamous trade-back-into-the-first-round to draft Tebow, when many considered Tebow a second- or third-round pick. McDaniels has been considered a potential head coaching candidate once again and, should he take a job, there’s no doubt his new team would be considered a candidate for Tebow’s services.
Even should McDaniels leave, New England remains in play. McDaniels’ fascination with Tebow was not unrequited by his mentor Bill Belichick. In fact, on draft day the Patriots were considered one of Tebow’s primary suitors.
Though the team currently possesses Ryan Mallett as its’ backup, Tebow remains in the running. Mallett could be shipped out for a draft pick (Belichick’s never done that before right?) to make way for the player McDaniels and Belichick have a man crush on. The two could mold him to take over for Tom Brady whenever that fateful day arrives when he leaves the game.
Of course, the Jets would likely be reticent to ship him to their greatest rival in the AFC East. That is the primary snag with this potential move.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs hold the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL draft. Most draft analysts project Texas A&M junior left tackle Luke Joeckel as the No. 1 pick. The interesting thing about that selection is that the Chiefs desperately need a quarterback.
They currently possess three—none of whom excite anyone (Matt Cassel, Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi). West Virginia QB Geno Smith is another possible target with the pick, but Joeckel is considered the far superior prospect. And new head coach Andy Reid had a long history of drafting lineman in the first round while in Philadelphia.
In other words, Kansas City is taking Joeckel and will figure out the quarterback some other way. Tebow anyone?
As crazy as it may sound, there is reason to believe it’s possible. Andy Reid loves mobile quarterbacks. Scroll down the list—Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb (to some extent) and Michael Vick. With a great running game already in place and the possibility of bringing Dwayne Bowe back, offensive weapons are aplenty in Kansas City.
Bowe is the type of guy who just needs the ball thrown in his direction to catch it—though he did have five drops in 114 targets in 2012. Even Tebow can get the ball to Bowe.
Remember that the Chiefs are still in a state of despair after the unfortunate events involving Javon Belcher in November. Tebow is the kind of guy who could help bring restoration to the locker room.
Tebow could end up with another franchise next season as a backup, but these three destinations seem to make the most sense for him. At least these are probably the three he would most prefer.