Silver Lining: Tebow’s release is an opportunity

By Adam Silverstein
April 29, 2013

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.


  1. Michael Jones says:

    In my opinion that is by far the best and most intelligent article you’ve written yet on OGGOA. A very reasoned and well-written argument. All of it makes perfect sense and I’d love to see what would happen to Tim (including his infamous “throwing motion”) if the 500 lb gorilla of media spotlight was no longer on his back and he could just relax and be a teammate and a regular guy. He never asked for the circus that follows him up until now.

    Yes, New England did come to mind right off the bat. So does San Francisco. And there are others.

  2. g8ter27 says:

    Adam, I get what you are saying in the article but I just can’t understand what I am missing here. I get that people say Tebow is not good in practice, that his accuracy is horrible, etc. But here is what we know: He won a state championship at qb..set (at the time) the state passing records. He won 2 National Championships in college, went 13-1 another year…and oh yeah won a Heisman. In Denver, when he was allowed to play, he won..and then won in the playoffs. Last year he didn’t play qb with the Jets…and now everyone assumes he sucks at qb and needs to be rebuilt. Not trying to sound like Skip Bayless but the guy wins….period! I would rather have that than a qb that puts up video game stats and the team wins 6 games.

    • I’m not saying Tebow is not a winner. What I’m saying is that he has never in his career – not in high school, not at Florida – had the opportunity to actually learn how to play and succeed as a NFL quarterback. It’s not the same as throwing the ball around in college. It takes some players years to adjust to the league. Look how long Aaron Rogers was a back-up…now he’s the best signal caller in the league.

  3. one says:

    No offense but this: | 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. |

    is a lot more trouble than it’s worth when there are plenty of capable, available players coming up cheap every year in the draft. Now I don’t think too much creativity is needed to use Tim and I don’t think he needs to be rebuilt from the cleats up, but if that’s how he’s perceived, then I doubt he’ll be picked up by another team.

    • Much higher long-term upside.

    • Michael Jones says:

      I actually think Tim has regressed in his development in the throwing area (although I haven’t seen him since the improvement he has allegedly made over the summer). It’s one of those deals where the criticism almost became a self-fulfilling prophecy as the more it came to be a focal point, the more that attention came to bear upon it, the less relaxed Tim began to play. The thing took on a life of its own. He started over-thinking the game, in general, and trying to aim his passes in particular–both big no-no’s. Rather than playing naturally, Coach Fox set him back years by making him play afraid to make a mistake until there was no choice but to throw out all abandon in the 4th quarter because they were inevitably behind and then that’s when Tim played his best.

      Did you ever hear any of that “Tim isn’t accurate” business when he was in college? No. Just look at the tape and you’ll see some of the most gorgeous passes ever thrown. Spread offense or no spread offense, system or no system, at some point, you still have to get the ball there, and for the vast majority of the time (I’m not claiming he was perfect), Tim did that beautifully.

      The things I like the most about Adam’s suggestion is (1) the opportunity for Tim to have a break of sorts, to back off and kind of get his wits about him, (2) a front office/general manager/head coach who will be strong enough to not buy into the media circus thing and take some of the spotlight/pressure off in that area, and (3) the opportunity to learn behind a really good quarterback in an established system. Adam is right–Tim has never really had that kind of opportunity and that kind of coaching to teach him how to play the position in the NFL. Give him that chance, and then, AND ONLY THEN, will we all know for sure if Tim can be an NFL quarterback. But make no mistake–he has won more than enough games and shown more than enough talent and promise to earn that chance.

  4. Spike says:

    I think the Packers would be ideal. They meet Adams points and their back up qb is a dud. Makes even more sense for the Pack.

  5. T-Bone says:

    UF needs to find a motivator, strengthening, and moral recruiter position for him to fill!!!! Remember “Field of Dreams”… it and they will come!

  6. Michael Jones says:

    Listened to Brian Dawkins discuss Tebow’s future this morning on ESPN. It was like he was reading from your article, Adam. . everything from learning behind a veteran established QB, to an organization that won’t tolerate the media circus. . . he even recommended the Patriots. FYI

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