Thirteen months after hosting a press conference for nearly 200 media members announcing his arrival to New York, Tim Tebow was released Monday morning.
There were no cameras, TV satellite trucks, reporters from TMZ, “Inside Edition”, or the New York Post’s “Page Six” to chronicle his exit. Instead, he was shown the door like most backup quarterbacks and/or punt protectors. He reported to work and was told his services were no longer needed.
“We have a great deal of respect for Tim Tebow,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said in the statement. “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.”
So, what’s next for Tebow?
The long-rumored landing spot, even back when he was a college senior at the University of Florida, was Jacksonville, where he’d play for the hometown franchise. But the Jaguars, under new ownership and led by a new general manager and head coach, are not looking for gimmicks or a “Get rich quick” scheme at the gate.
General manager Dave Caldwell, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons front office, resisted spending big money on any high-priced veteran free agents this March. In the draft, they passed on quarterbacks, building their team up at defensive back and along the offensive line. When new head coach Gus Bradley was in Seattle with Pete Carroll, the team relied on diamonds in the rough and a no-frills approach to roster building. They found CFL retreads (cornerback Brandon Browner), third-round picks (quarterback Russell Wilson), and under-appreciated prospects (Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin) to boost their depth chart. Tebow, quite simply, wouldn’t make sense. Signing the former Florida star would cut the leadership’s legs off and minimize their long-term vision.
Chicago’s another possible landing spot, but that doesn’t seem to work, either. The connection with the Bears is through their new head coach Marc Trestman and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh. Trestman worked with Tebow briefly before the 2010 NFL Draft and Cavanaugh worked with Tebow as the Jets’ quarterbacks coach last season.
In addition to his pre-draft workouts, the Montreal Alouettes had the CFL rights to Tebow while Trestman was the coach of the team. Chicago’s a legitimate playoff contender. I’m not sure backing Jay Cutler up with Tim Tebow helps the team in any way.
Being released in April doesn’t help Tebow much, either. The NFL’s quarterback carousel has been in constant motion since the end of last season and it appears as though Oakland, Tennessee, Kansas City, Arizona, Minnesota, and Buffalo — the six teams with the most pressing needs outside of Jacksonville — all have their depth chart solidified. Had he been released in January or February, Tebow would have had the opportunity to land with a team before the signing and drafting spree began.
As for switching positions, Tebow’s already said he isn’t willing to play tight end, a position that might suit him better in the NFL.
Which leads us to Canada. “I’m sure a team will consider him up there, but it’s not like his game fits the CFL perfectly, either,” a source with knowledge of the CFL said. “Remember, the fields are larger and wider, making his throwing issues an even bigger problem. He’s not a ‘running quarterback’ in the sense that Doug Flutie or Jeff Garcia were, either. He’s a power runner."
The Arena League?
Tebow has a much-publicized standing offer from the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League. Last month, team owner Brett Bouchy, told the Orlando Sentinel: "Tim would certainly want to first exhaust his opportunities in the NFL, but we'd love to have him. I think he would definitely improve as a quarterback in our league.”
The owner then reminded everyone of the league’s greatest success story.
"Kurt Warner told me once that when he got back to the NFL after playing in the Arena League, the NFL game was like slow motion. Everything in the Arena League is just so much faster and quicker and predicated on accuracy. Whenever Tim is willing, we have a contract waiting for him to sign."
One would expect Tebow to exhaust all his options before thinking about Orlando.
As for the Jets, Tebow's release still leaves them with five quarterbacks — and one giant question mark.
The Mark Sanchez situation needs to be determined and it needs to be determined now.
It would be hard to believe the Jets drafted Geno Smith this past weekend to be Sanchez’s backup. Unlike in years past, the team has made no statements about their starting quarterback situation in March. The job will be won in training camp.
The question is whether Sanchez will even be there in August to win the gig. He could even be gone by Memorial Day, if not sooner.