The internet nearly collapsed when word leaked out on Monday that Tim Tebow was signing with the New England Patriots. The much discussed, frequently debated, highly divisive former University of Florida, Denver Broncos, and New York Jets quarterback is getting a look from Bill Belichick at a minicamp that starts today. If things go well he will be in training camp fighting for a roster spot with the Patriots.
Tebow is not one of the 64 best quarterbacks in the world. That means he will not be a starting or primary backup signal caller in the NFL this season. What he may be is one of the 1,696 best professional football players on the planet. That would put him in a position to be on a roster when the regular season begins.
Nobody thinks that Tebow is going to unseat Tom Brady. No one with half a brain believes Tebow will beat out Ryan Mallett to be Brady's primary backup. The Patriots cut quarterback Mike Kafka to add Tebow. To say that Kafka was not in the plans would be an incredible understatement. Taking a look at Tebow offers no downside. There is no obligation to keep him. Unlike Kafka, he may add value in other parts of the game.
When David Tyree made one of the most memorable catches in Super Bowl history helping the Giants beat New England it was not because Tyree was a superstar player. He was a depth option at wideout who played a key role on special teams. There is no reason to believe Tebow couldn't be a special teams regular who occasionally helps out in other ways. His size and strength make him an interesting option as a H-back, tight end, option, short yardage or wildcat style quarterback.
In coming to the Patriots, Tebow is reunited with Josh McDaniels. It was McDaniels who drafted Tebow in the first round when he was the coach in Denver. McDaniels is now the Patriots offensive coordinator and surely has a few ideas of how Tebow can help his unit in creative ways.
It is also worth noting that when Tebow has been in the presence of elite coaches he has succeeded. At Florida Urban Meyer used Tebow's talents to win a BCS Championship. When John Fox inherited Tebow with the Broncos, after going 1-4 with Kyle Orton at QB early in the season, Fox changed his offense and allowed Tebow to run and occasionally pass to the tune of a 7-4 mark as a starter in the regular season, and then he shocked the Steelers in the playoffs. Like Meyer and Fox, Belichick gets the most out of players.
The most common argument about Tebow as a negative presence is the media circus that will follow him. It seems unlikely Brady and a veteran group of players are going to become distracted. If he ends up not being worth the effort, Tebow will simply be cut. If he adds value, then the Patriots got a commodity for nothing. Adding Tebow either will provide upside or have no effect at all. I wish I could invest in some stocks that might go up, but at worst stay the same.