NFL Nation: Tebow destinations

Adam Schefter reports that before the Broncos finalized the trade of Tim Tebow to the Jets, they allowed Tebow to share his preference between the Jets and Jaguars.

If it had gone another way, I’d have a different stance.

But that Tebow picked the Jets did the Jaguars a great, two-part service.
1) They aren’t saddled with a guy at least a share of the organization does not believe can play.

2) They’ll always be able to say they wanted him and he picked someone else.

The Jets now employ a huge proponent of Wildcat formations in offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, and the Jets will surely use Tebow in such situations from game to game depending on the defenses New York sees and the success its base offense has.

The Jaguars won’t be forced to employ such things, which are not the favored approach of general manager Gene Smith or coach Mike Mularkey and his staff. (I applaud those who frown upon gimmicks. It's just a default setting I have.)

Look, Blaine Gabbert was terrible as a rookie. But one season is far too soon to label a quarterback with his arm a complete bust. The Jaguars think the new coaching staff will improve his play a great deal.

If that happens, they will look smart. If it doesn’t happen, well, they’ll be in a tough spot. That spot could have been even tougher had Tebow been in the mix with an organization that didn't fully believe in him.

Tebow was Josh McDaniels’ guy, which is why he was a first-round pick in Denver. Tebow wasn’t John Elway's guy or John Fox’s guy, which is why the Broncos dealt him at the first opportunity.

Tebow was not Gene Smith's guy or Mike Mularkey’s guy.

Which is surely a big reason why, if he had a say, he chose to go be Rex Ryan’s guy and Sparano’s guy.
Statement from Jaguars owner Shad Khan:

“Earlier this week I asked Gene Smith and his staff to explore the potential of acquiring Tim Tebow. I think we have a duty to consider all avenues of improving the Jaguars on and off the field, especially given the unique circumstances involving the player. I appreciate the high level of due diligence Gene and his staff dedicated to this matter, even as late as this evening, and I am very satisfied with the outcome. Our commitment to developing Blaine Gabbert was, and still is, central to our goal of returning the Jaguars to elite status in the NFL. We’re looking ahead with zero regrets.”

What can Tim Tebow do for the Jets?

March, 21, 2012
The New York Jets are one of four teams reportedly interested in Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.

Is this is a good idea or bad idea for the Jets? Here are some thoughts:
  • You naturally link Tebow to Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who ran the Wildcat in Miami. Tebow would be great at it. This gimmick offense would suit his skills well. The Jets want to run the ball -- a lot. With Tebow, Denver was one of the top running teams in the NFL. The Jets don't have a blue-chip running back on the roster. Tebow can add a few hundred yards to the pile and a good yards-per-carry average to New York's ground-and-pound offense. From an X's and O's standpoint, it makes sense.
  • Here is the rub: Would starting quarterback Mark Sanchez be OK with adding Tebow? I'm sure there would be mixed feelings. On one hand, Sanchez has the security with the Jets after getting a five-year extension. He will be New York's quarterback for at least the next two years. That could be enough for Sanchez to be fine with adding Tebow as his backup. However, the fans don't care about finances, particularly in the win-now culture of New York. If Sanchez has a bad stretch of two or three games, fans will be clamoring for the wildly popular Tebow, especially after Tebow propelled Denver last season and won a playoff game. Sanchez would have to play well and consistent throughout the season or there will be plenty of fan pressure. That is something the Jets have to consider.
  • Finally, keep in mind Tebow beat the Jets last year. I think that game earned Tebow a lot of respect in New York's locker room, coaching staff and front office. Regardless of how you feel about Tebow as a quarterback, he has a lot of good football traits. He's tough, can run, is hard-nosed and works very hard. Tebow's biggest issue is he can't throw the football accurately. But if the Jets can add him as a backup quarterback to run gimmick plays several times a game, it can work. I like the idea of Tebow to New York as long as Sanchez can handle it and the Jets don't give up any high draft picks.

There has been some talk that the New England Patriots could join the list of teams interested in Denver quarterback Tim Tebow.

Josh McDaniels, who drafted Tebow in 2010, is now New England’s offensive coordinator. If the Patriots do pursue Tebow, I think Denver should inquire about third-string quarterback Ryan Mallett. The Patriots picked Mallett in the third round last season after he tumbled in the draft.

I’ve been asked about a possible Mallett-Tebow trade often and I think it makes sense for the Broncos. The Broncos will likely look for a veteran to back up Peyton Manning (Billy Volek, anyone?) and for a young quarterback to groom. Like Manning, Mallett is a good, strong-armed quarterback. Like he did in New England last year under Tom Brady, Mallett could learn and grow under Manning.

Manning should be a solid starter for at least the next three years. Mallet would have plenty of time to study the game from perhaps the most detail-oriented and intelligent quarterback of all time.

Mallett is not going to be in the Patriots’ immediate plans, so if they wanted to get in on Tebowmania, he would be a worthwhile price. If the Patriots were to offer Mallett for Tebow, I’d think the Broncos would have to consider it. I don’t see them getting many better offers.
Adam Schefter reports that teams interested in acquiring Tim Tebow include Green Bay, Miami, the Jets, and, wait for it, Jacksonville.

Things have gone silent at Jaguars headquarters from what I can tell, and from what I have read.

Perhaps that means management and coaches are preparing for a force-feeding from their new owner, Shahid Khan.

I am convinced if Tebow ends up in Jacksonville, it won’t be because general manager Gene Smith wants him or because Mike Mularkey and his staff want him.

Blaine Gabbert is the starter, Chad Henne will be the backup.

If, as a third-stringer, Tebow wound up playing, Mularkey is creative enough that he’d design a package centering on what Tebow does well. Maybe he would use him as a special package change-up.

Would there be a mad rush to the box office upon the addition of Tebow? I suppose, though I am not positive tarps would immediately be taken down. (And I always stress even with the tarps, EverBank Field is bigger than Soldier Field. Should the Jaguars be outdrawing the Bears?)

Would there also be a great degree of resentment among legitimate Jaguars diehards that Khan starts off by meddling? I think for sure.

And the second group of fans is more important than the first.

The people that would come out to see "The Tebow Gimmick" will go away when it doesn’t work. And I simply don’t believe it will work long-term. (Is there a worse scenario than putting tarps back up?)

Adding Tebow certainly could give Smith and Mularkey something to commiserate about -- their boss.

Unity counts for something, right?
The Miami Dolphins cannot help themselves. The Tim Tebow temptation is just too strong.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Miami is one of four teams expressing interest in the popular Broncos quarterback. As we mentioned Monday in the AFC East blog, this move would make little sense in terms of Xs and Os. But the Dolphins' front office has proved this offseason that logic rarely applies.

Going after Tebow is strictly a public relations move for the Dolphins. Tebow, who played for the University of Florida, would quickly put fans in the seats at Sun Life Stadium. But Tebow running a precision passing, West Coast offense on the field would be a train wreck waiting to happen.

If Tebow would have any success in Miami, the team would have to go away from the West Coast principles rookie coach Joe Philbin and first-year offensive coordinator Mike Sherman were brought to Miami to implement. Is it worth undermining your entire coaching staff for Tebow?

An educated guess is this interest has owner Stephen Ross' fingerprints on it. It hurts Ross to go to games and see so many orange, empty seats. Based on the moves and non-moves the team made this offseason, Ross is probably anticipating more empty seats this year and desperately wants to change it.

Tebow would provide a short-term buzz, but eventually Miami has to win to keep fans interested. That is where Miami's thought of adding Tebow should stop.

The New York Jets are also mentioned as one of four interested suitors for Tebow. But Schefter reports Tebow to the Jets is a "long shot." New York just gave starter Mark Sanchez a $58.25 million extension that ensures he will be the starter for at least the next two years.
There is apparently solid interest in Tim Tebow around the NFL.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter has just reported that Jacksonville, Green Bay, Miami and the Jets have all either internally discussed acquiring Tebow or have discussed it with the Broncos. Schefter described the Jets as being a long shot.

He’d probably have the best chances to play in Jacksonville (his hometown) and Miami. He’d be a backup with the Packers, but the Packers are known for developing quarterbacks and it could be a good spot for him.

Denver is bent on trading him and doing it soon. It seems like they have a market.

Tim Tebow in the NFC South?

March, 20, 2012
All the division bloggers were asked to take part in a project in which we looked at potential landing spots for Tim Tebow, now that Peyton Manning is Denver’s quarterback.

When it came to the NFC South, I didn’t see much of a chance of Tebow landing with any of the four teams. I put the New Orleans Saints in the “low probability’’ category.

Here’s the quick synopsis I wrote on the Saints: It's hard to imagine because the Saints have Drew Brees at quarterback. But coach Sean Payton has such an innovative offensive mind that he could probably come up with a way to get Tebow on the field for a few plays a game.

I’ll elaborate a little more here and specify that I really don’t see Payton viewing Tebow as a quarterback. But Payton is creative enough that he could find ways to work him in as a tight end, H-back, fullback or, occasionally, as a running back. But all that is a very long shot. The Broncos are likely to want a draft pick for Tebow. I don’t think the Saints want to be parting with draft picks right now.

I put the Panthers, Falcons and Buccaneers in the “no chance’’ category and that’s basically because I believe there’s absolutely no chance any of them would be interested in Tebow.

Here’s what I wrote on Atlanta: The Falcons are set with Matt Ryan for the next decade or so. They don't use any gimmicks in their offense and they don't want to take the ball out of Ryan's hands.

Here’s what I had on Carolina: The Panthers have one of the league's top young quarterbacks in Cam Newton. They're hoping they don't have to look for another quarterback for another 12 to 15 years.

Here’s what I had on Tampa Bay: From a business standpoint, it might make some sense for a franchise that struggles to sell tickets to bring Tebow back to Florida. From a football standpoint, it makes absolutely no sense. New coach Greg Schiano and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan plan to run a conventional offense. They've already got a drop-back passer in Josh Freeman and they don't want to cause any headaches for a player who needs to bounce back from a rough 2011 season if he really is going to be their franchise quarterback.

I really don’t have anything more to add on what I said in relation to the Falcons and Panthers. On the Buccaneers, I’ll just say, I can see Tebow back in Florida, but it would be either with the Dolphins or Jaguars.
As we discussed Monday, two-year-old comments from Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy indicate that at one point he seemed interested in tutoring quarterback Tim Tebow. We haven't given McCarthy a chance to update his sentiments, but they have conspired to involve the Packers in the first round of media speculation about Tebow's next team.

To me, the most interesting part of the Packers angle is that they have absolutely no need for a starting quarterback, or even a competitor for the role, and won't for a long time. Tebow to Green Bay is a much different circumstance than Tebow to the Miami Dolphins or Tebow to the Jacksonville Jaguars or even the San Francisco 49ers. I have a hard time seeing the Packers giving up the same draft-pick compensation for a backup as other teams might for a potential starter.

But how certain are we that there will be a market of teams who want Tebow to compete for their starting job? What if he is viewed as a backup league-wide? If the trade market doesn't materialize, making Tebow available for a low pick or possibly as a free agent, then I suppose it's possible the Packers could take a flyer. In that scenario, there would be low risk, and I doubt they would be concerned about "Tebowmania" hitting Green Bay, considering how many high-profile players are already on their roster.

Again, I think the Packers make much more sense for Tebow than Tebow does for the Packers. There is no better place to go than Green Bay to learn how to play the quarterback position. But what's in it for the Packers?

I guess the best way to put it is that a backup quarterback is expected to find a way to win games in place of the starter, by whatever means necessary, and Tebow has demonstrated that competitive ability even through non-traditional methods.

Our blog network put together a chart of possible destinations for Tebow. I put the Packers in the "moderate" category. None of us really know what they're thinking, but I'm a bit intrigued.

Tim Tebow? Examining whether he'd fit

March, 20, 2012

Sorry, having a tough time envisioning the San Francisco 49ers acquiring Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos.

The 49ers, listed with Jacksonville and Green Bay among teams to watch in the Tebow trade talks, do have an opening at quarterback. They do feature prodigious options within their running scheme, options that could surely make use of a player with Tebow's running ability. And every team should consider adding assets to its roster when the value is right.

But if the 49ers do the smart thing by re-signing Alex Smith, where would Tebow fit into a roster already featuring 2011 second-round choice Colin Kaepernick? Where would Tebow fit into the long-term plans? Would he ever project as more than a gadget player? How would his notoriety affect dynamics at the position -- dynamics already thrown off, potentially, by the 49ers' Peyton Manning diversion?

Would Tebow be worth the trouble? He might be the perfect backup quarterback in some ways. A team wouldn't want to build its entire offense around a player with such a unique set of attributes, but if the starter were injured, Tebow's style could lend itself to short-term success.

In my view, the Broncos determined Tebow's style of play was not conducive to long-term success at the position. They did not think his presence on the roster was a net gain for their organization.

I'm not convinced Tebow would represent a net gain for the 49ers, either. New England seems like an ideal landing spot for two reasons. One, the man responsible for drafting Tebow, Josh McDaniels, is running the offense there. Two, Tom Brady's presence as the starter would suppress the irrational aspects of the Tebow phenomenon.

Throwing Tebow into the equation in San Francisco would muddy the quarterback dynamics at a time when the 49ers need clarity at the position.

Where will Tim Tebow land?

March, 20, 2012
Tim IllustrationMight Tim Tebow end up in one of these uniforms when the dust settles following the Denver Broncos' acquisition of Peyton Manning?
Here are some reactions from ESPN’s network of analysts on the pending singing of Peyton Manning in Denver:

On Manning’s relationship with John Elway being a key part of the decision…

[+] EnlargePeyton Manning
Kevin Mazur/Getty ImagesPeyton Manning's arrival immediately changes the expectations in Denver.
“What started out as a friendship between the two men -- them having played golf together before in the past -- grew over the course of the last 10 or so days, and I think without John Elway in the front office, the Broncos probably would not have been able to bring home Peyton Manning. That was probably the key element here.”

- NFL Insider Adam Schefter

“Everyone just got better, particularly on the offensive side. If you’re Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas, wide receivers, you are just thrilled, because the ball is going to come out with perfect timing in every single play. If you’re Knowshon Moreno or Willis McGahee or someone they draft, you know you’re always going to run into good looks, because if you get eight in the box, Peyton is going to get out [of] the play and throw the ball down the field. … Besides the skills set, the intelligence set, all players around him know they got a better quarterback.”

-- NFL studio analyst Ron Jaworski

On why Manning might have chosen Denver…

“Knowing Peyton Manning, he wants to be part of the process. It’s very important to him what the coaching staff is like, how flexible they are, how engaged they are in doing it maybe a different way, not just the way they’ve done it before. … Peyton is just smarter when it comes to football than most people in the NFL. His functional football intelligence is greater than 98 percent of the league. So, he sees things a little bit differently. He wants to go somewhere where he knows he can put his fingerprint on it, that the organization will support him, and I think Denver was probably the best fit from day one. … Peyton Manning makes everybody around him better. Not just players. He makes coaches better. He makes front-office people better. He puts everybody at a heightened awareness, and they do their jobs more efficiently and more diligently when he’s in the building.”

-- NFL studio analyst Trent Dilfer

“We can all speculate on why he made the decision. I think there’s no doubt that what he has in mind is to end his career by winning the Super Bowl. John [Elway] was able, along with [Broncos owner] Pat Bowlen, to sell that to Peyton Manning.”

-- NFL analyst and former Broncos linebacker Tom Jackson

On what the addition of Manning means to the Broncos and the NFL overall…

“He can really make a big huge difference for this team. It’s not just the one incremental step to the Super Bowl. If he can take this team to the Super Bowl, it really says ‘I did it.’ … There’s a lot of upside there for Peyton, and a nice comfortable fit. … This is a team -- young coaches that obviously can make adjustments. I think Peyton will be very careful. I don’t think he’s going to come in and break a lot of glass, but he will be collaborative and make sure he does his system.

“It’s going to force the whole country to kind of look west, and that will be good for everybody in the AFC West, but it will be a balance of power. Peyton Manning doesn’t have five or six, seven years to do this. He needs to do it now. The immediate result of him coming to Denver is Denver now needs to go win a Super Bowl -- quickly. That’ll be the story of the year. It will be interesting to see how quickly they do manage to get into the playoffs. They got into the playoffs with Tim Tebow. Now can they extend that with Peyton Manning?”

-- NFL analyst Steve Young

On how the Broncos will measure success with Peyton Manning …

“In the next two or three years, if they don’t win the division and win a playoff game, then it didn’t work. … The pieces are in place to be successful going forward throwing the football. Those pieces were not in place with Tebow.”

– "Monday Night Football" play-by-play voice Mike Tirico on ESPN Radio’s "Scott Van Pelt Show"

On what’s next for Tim Tebow with the Broncos’ addition of Manning …

“They’re going to try to do anything they can do to trade him. Ultimately, from a football perspective, if you talk to football people within this league, I don’t think any football people really want him on their football team … I don’t think they want to deal with the circus that is Tim Tebow, and also the fact that he doesn’t have the quarterbacking skills necessary to play in this league … I think the guy’s a good football player. I don’t think there’s any question about that. I don’t think he’s a good quarterback. I don’t think he has the skill set that you have to have to play quarterback in this league. And there’s a lot of teams, I mean, let’s face it -- I live in Denver -- I saw that circus on a week-to-week basis in person. And there’s not too many teams I think that really want to deal with that in their city.”

-- NFL analyst Mark Schlereth, a two-time Broncos Super Bowl champion who still lives in the Denver area

“The more I studied him in an NFL setting, the more disturbed I was that he has no clue what he’s looking at. His IQ as a football player is not very good. That is why they have to come down and make it some [kind] of a college-form system that he’s comfortable with in Florida. He can’t execute, from a cerebral aspect, a pro-style system.”

-- NFL analyst Merril Hoge
I have to give you guys credit. After the news broke that Eli Manning's brother had found a new job, along with the news that the Broncos would now try to trade Tim Tebow, I didn't hear from very many of you. Normally, when a player arrives on the market, I get Twitter queries within five minutes from fans of all four of our teams, asking whether their team should or will pursue said player. But today, not much. The one Redskins one I got was later explained as sarcastic by the person who asked it (silly me for not figuring that out immediately), and I've had a couple of people ask whether it'd be worth it for the Eagles to bring him in as a long-term project behind Michael Vick. But that's it.

Anyway, the answer is no. Whichever team is your favorite in the NFC East should not be trying to trade for Tebow. To wit:
  • The Redskins don't need the headache of crazed Tebow fans screaming and putting up billboards saying he should start the first time Robert Griffin III has a bad game.
  • The Eagles need as little controversy as possible, and no matter how hard they may work to portray Tebow as a long-term project, you know the same thing would happen there if Michael Vick started to struggle.
  • The Cowboys just signed a three-year deal with Kyle Orton to be their backup, and it wouldn't surprise me if it included language guaranteeing that Orton never had to hear Tebow's name again as long as he lives.
  • The Giants? No.

Remember this about Tebow: His success as a Bronco came after the team decided to completely structure its offense around him, accentuating his strengths and minimizing his weaknesses (i.e., actually throwing the ball). The Broncos had no established receivers that were going to kick about such a decision, a veteran running back who was totally on board and a flexible, open-minded coach who was willing to consider an outside-the-box option as possibly better than the offense he preferred to run.

There isn't a team in the NFC East that remotely fits that description.

And finally, Tebow's not a free agent. This isn't a situation in which you could sign him to a low-risk, incentive-based deal and benefit if he blossomed but not suffer in the short-term if he didn't. You'd have to trade something of value for Tebow, who'd come with a contract he got as a result of being a first-round pick. Who in this division (heck, who in any division) can say it's worth spending real resources on a quarterback who might never be an NFL-caliber thrower.

Tebow is, obviously, a fine young man and would be a great guy to have on a team. I think the Broncos should keep him, use him as a backup quarterback and design some interesting offensive sub packages around him. But the Broncos already have him, and whatever they've invested in getting him is a sunk cost. For a team to trade something to get Tebow would appear to be a mistake at this point, and it certainly wouldn't make sense for anyone in the NFC East.

Sources have told ESPN that the Denver Broncos will try to trade Tim Tebow once the deal with Peyton Manning becomes official.

Every team that needs a quarterback -- like the Browns -- will get linked in some way to "Tebow-mania." ESPN's Mel Kiper said the Browns "deserve to be thrown into the [Tebow] conversation until they say, 'We're not interested.'"


Should the Browns trade for Tim Tebow?


Discuss (Total votes: 15,520)

The Browns need to say no to Tebow. It really isn't a discussion. They shouldn't be interested in him as a free agent, much less in trading for him. That is, unless Tebow can play right tackle.

There's no doubt that Tebow will sell tickets, but he won't win games. He does have a way of creating fourth-quarter magic, and he did beat the Steelers in a playoff game (albeit on 10 completions). You also won't get a better leader or someone with stronger character than Tebow.

But adding Tebow would be the wrong move because his success will be short-lived. His biggest problem is his inaccuracy (47.3 career completion rate). He's a running back who plays quarterback and would be valuable to a team looking to occasionally use a special package (like how teams used the Wildcat). I would actually give Tebow a better chance of being the Steelers' No. 3 quarterback than the Browns' starter.

The Browns seem intent on going with a quarterback competition between Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace and possibly a rookie draft pick. On a selfish note, it would benefit the blog if Tebow played Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs twice a year considering Suggs' public criticism of Tebow. “They say we were giving him a hard time because he’s a Christian. No, that’s not it!," Suggs told GQ. "We were giving him a hard time because he was terrible.”

Honestly, I don't see the Browns coming anywhere close to the Tebow discussions. The Browns want a franchise quarterback, not a fad one.

Dolphins should avoid Tim Tebow

March, 19, 2012
Don't do it, Miami Dolphins.

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
Donald Miralle/Getty ImagesThere are a plethora of reasons the Dolphins should avoid falling into the Tim Tebow trap.
Do not make a quarterback mistake that will potentially stagnate the franchise for the next several years.

Do not, under any circumstances, trade for Tim Tebow.

I know this thought will cross the mind of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, if it hasn't already. Peyton Manning agreed to join the Denver Broncos Monday. Now, Tebow is expected to be available.

Ross is desperate to make a splash to help fill an empty and often lifeless Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins even came up with the idea last year to honor Tebow and his national champion team with the Florida Gators, despite being the opposing starting quarterback.

It would be na´ve to assume the Dolphins' front office wouldn't be interested in Tebow. Getting the wildly-popular Tebow would put more fans in the stands. That is one of Ross' main objectives. But from a pure football standpoint, the Dolphins should want no part of this.


Should the Dolphins acquire QB Tim Tebow?


Discuss (Total votes: 22,061)

Miami is implementing a precision-passing, West Coast offense under rookie head coach Joe Philbin. Last year Denver had to completely gut its offense to mold around Tebow’s strength, which is more run-oriented. Acquiring Tebow and making him your starter would completely undermine everything Philbin and new offensive coordinator Mike Sherman were brought to Miami to do.

With Tebow, the Dolphins would not run the Packers system or any pass-heavy system in Miami -- at least if they want a chance to compete. The only system you can successfully run with Tebow is the read-option offense he ran in college and last season with the Broncos. That is why Denver desperately did everything it could to land Manning.

Despite all the reasons on the contrary, expect a lot of speculation linking the Dolphins and Tebow. Miami's front office has made some curious decisions lately and doesn't appear to have a clear-cut plan this offseason. So you just never know with this group.

But what I do know is if Miami's starting quarterback search ends with Tebow, that is the biggest mistake Miami's regime could make.



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