It happened six weeks later than it should have, but quarterback Tim Tebow was finally set free on Monday when the New York Jets decided to waive him without receiving any compensation in return.
Delving into why Tebow-in-New York did not work out is a tired topic at this point. It was the wrong fit from the very start and the coaching staff had absolutely no idea either how to handle Tebow or ensure that he was an effective football player for the franchise. That is quite ridiculous statement when you consider the amount of success he had both in college and with an organization (Denver) that adjusted its offense mid-season in order to get the most out of him.
Most talking heads will spend their Monday asking what will become of Tebow as a football player and whether or not he would dare take a shot with the CFL or AFL to continue his career.
The Montreal Alouettes hold his CFL rights and would accept him immediately though his role would be as a reserve.
“If he wants to come to Canada, he would be in the same situation as the one he was in with New York,” Montreal general manager Jim Popp told TSN. “He can come here and compete to be the backup with Anthony Calvillo and learn the game, just like Jeff Garcia did [behind Doug Flutie]. And one day he might be the guy; that’s our vision. He can learn from the best.”
Orlando Predators owner Brett Bouchy told the Orlando Sentinel more than a month ago that his door is always open for Tebow to play in Florida with his AFL franchise.
“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,” Bouchy said. “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.”
The CFL and AFL should be – and are likely seen as – a last resort for Tebow.
He’s not done with the NFL yet.
Though some teams may not be champing at the bit to sign Tebow – as noted by the number of franchises that have quickly come out to say they have no interest in the player – there does remain interest in him throughout the league.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that the Jets allowed Tebow to explore a trade this offseason. Multiple teams apparently reached out to him to play tight end. He refused to discuss the possibility because he does not play that position.
Right now, he does not play quarterback either.
Those are organizations that would have been forced to give something up to acquire Tebow, compensation as part of a trade. There are others – likely the historically intelligent and well-managed ones – that now have the opportunity to bring him into the fold as a project for the veteran’s minimum.
Tebow can still succeed in the NFL even if his options are dwindling. All it will take is the right situation (offered by a franchise) and the right mindset (that’s on Tebow).
A team that acquires Tebow needs to have a successful franchise quarterback on its roster, a player whose confidence will not be shaken just because a great competitor is being added into the fold.
A team that acquires Tebow must possess a strong front office that is not rattled by questions about its decision making, along with a general manager who does not fear his job might be in jeopardy because he makes a calculated acquisition.
A team that acquires Tebow almost certainly needs a smart and creative head coach who will realize that Tebow is a project, a player who should not see the field in 2013 (unless it is determined that he can be effective) but rather be dismantled and built again from the cleats up.
If a team is willing to teach Tebow a brand new position, why not take the same amount of time and effort to instruct him how to be better at the one he’s played since high school? Teach him how to be a professional quarterback.
A team that acquires Tebow has to be resolute and of the same mindset. It must step in front of the media “circus” that he is sure to bring with him and deal with it head-on. Rather than allow him to hold an press conference for his signing and provide ESPN with the ability to camp out at practices so even Tebow running shirtless in the rain becomes a national news story, the team must treat him like any other reserve.
New York, itself an amusement park of an organization, fanned the flames and fueled the fire; a well-run franchise knows how to snuff them out.
Reading the four points above may lead one to believe that New England is the team being referenced here. While there is no doubt that the Patriots would be a perfect fit for Tebow – head coach Bill Belichick’s relationship with Urban Meyer only being another reason it makes sense – they are not the only team in the league that fits the bill. And that’s not even considering the handful of others that meet three of the four aforementioned criteria.
Whether Tebow’s return to an NFL locker room occurs in a week, a month or even the 2014 season is of little importance. Truth be told, a year spent working on his mechanics and improving as a player while staying away from the league and the spotlight may not be the worst thing for him.
What matters more is that his next destination actually provides him with an opportunity. Not an opportunity to play right away but rather one to actually develop and improve.
An opportunity to turn a career-low moment into a career-saving situation.