The media circus surrounding Tim Tebow and the New York Jets officially came to an end Monday morning, with the club announcing they released the popular quarterback after a largely disappointing 2013 season.
"We have a great deal of respect for Tim Tebow," said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. "Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we all had hoped. Tim is an extremely hard worker, evident by the shape he came back in this offseason. We wish him the best moving forward."
Tebow’s fate was all but sealed Friday night when the Jets drafted former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith in the second round. Smith’s addition to the team gave the Jets a total of six quarterbacks at the time – now they’re down to five.
Even before the draft, rumors spread that the 2007 Heisman Trophy award winner would be either traded or released following a nightmarish season with the Jets – who managed to win only six games in 2012.
Tebow was almost nonexistent on the field – throwing only eight passes the entire season.
With Tebow back on the open market, are any teams willing to take a shot and sign the polarizing quarterback ahead of the 2014 season?
Despite his poor numbers with the Jets, here are three teams that may be willing to open up a roster spot for Tebow.
Despite reports to the contrary, there are still legitimate reasons why the Jaguars may be a possible landing spot for Tebow in the weeks ahead.
First, the presence of Tebow in Jaguars uniform would instantly help sell tickets at EverBank Field – a stadium which has one of the worst attendance records in the league. Tebow, who played his college football just down the road at the University of Florida, would almost certainly bring excitement and buzz to a team in need of something to be excited about.
Additionally, the Jaguars don’t stand to lose much by taking a chance to sign Tebow. The lowly club won only two games all of last season, and though Tebow’s stock is certainly as low as it’s been since he entered the league, the Jags don’t stand to lose much even if Tebow continues his recent trend of poor play.
Lastly, Jacksonville passed up an opportunity to draft a quarterback in last week’s NFL draft – a head-scratching decision given the poor play of current two-year starter Blaine Gabbert. The decision to bypass adding a quarterback to their roster fuels additional speculation a return to the Florida area is likely for Tebow.
New head coach Chip Kelly has a history of using running quarterbacks, and Tebow, at 6’3” and just under 240 pounds, has a history of success running the ball as both a Florida Gator and Denver Bronco.
As the former head coach at Oregon, Kelly ran a prolific offense that was based around having a mobile quarterback. In his last season in college football, Kelly’s lead signal caller, Marcus Mariota, ran the ball 106 times for 752 yards.
Although Kelly does have a fast quarterback in Philadelphia with Michael Vick under center, the first-year coach knows he can’t count on the injury-plagued Vick to stay healthy all season.
Vick missed nine combined games in the past two years with a variety of injuries, and the Eagles could certainly benefit from having a backup that has the skills to run Kelly’s offense.
Despite the fact that the Eagles already have a slew of other capable quarterbacks in Nick Foles, Dennis Dixon, and newly-drafted USC quarterback Matt Barkley, there’s still reason to believe Kelly could free up space to sign Tebow.
Foles wasn’t drafted under Kelly, and it’s unclear how much interest the team has in Barkley, who slipped all the way to the fourth round.
An interesting landing spot for Tebow given that the Bears rarely – if ever – are mentioned in discussions involving Tebow. However, there are legitimate reasons to believe Tebow could eventually end up in Chicago ahead of the 2014 season.
First, following the end of the 2013 season a source told Pro Football Talk to, “watch the Bears,” in terms of Tebow’s eventual landing spot. Marc Trestman – who took over as Chicago’s new head coach following the departure of Lovie Smith at the end of last season – helped train Tebow before he was eventually drafter.
Trestman also reportedly tracked Tebow while coaching in the Canadian Football League last season.
Additionally, by having an experienced quarterback in Jay Cutler, the Bears may be able to avoid the large-scale controversy which followed the Jets for much of last season. Cutler’s solid play – unlike that of Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez – will help cement Tebow’s role as a backup – and not a starter.
The Bears could also use a backup quarterback if Cutler gets injured down the stretch of the 16 game season. Two years ago, the Bears missed the playoffs because they didn’t have a reliable backup behind Cutler.