On Thursday night, Tim Tebow had his last chance to impress the New England Patriots. The question remains, though, if it was enough to warrant him a roster spot.
The quarterback played for a large portion of the team’s fourth preseason game against the New York Giants. With Tom Brady sitting out the exhibition finale, it gave the former Heisman Trophy winner plenty of time to prove his worth. Tebow finished the contest with an 83.7 passer rating, by far his highest of 2013. He completed six-of-11 passes for 91 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Tebow also added 30 rushing yards on six attempts.
That type of performance was desperately needed by Tebow, who had been awful in the preseason before Thursday night. He had completed just 26 percent of his passes and had a 0.0 passer rating in his second game.
Despite a good showing against the Giants, Tebow might still find himself as a free agent when the season begins. Ryan Mallet has secured the backup quarterback position, and head coach Bill Belichick usually only carries two signal callers. With just 53 spots on the roster, it might not be worth it to keep two backups for one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
"Whatever we do will be whatever we think is in the best interest of this football team, the 2013 team, whatever that is at any position," said Belichick, when asked about keeping three quarterbacks.
If he did make the roster, there’s a chance Tebow could go the entire season without getting into a game. Since he became the full-time starter in 2001, the only games he missed came in 2008 when he an injury in Week One forced him out for the whole year.
Tebow might have a better shot to avoid getting cut if he could play another position, as well. Last season with the New York Jets, he played on special teams and at the start of Patriots training camp it appeared that the club could use him as a tight end. Because of Aaron Hernandez’s arrest and the health issues of Rob Gronkowski, New England had been lacking depth at the position. However, the way he was used in the preseason indicates that Tebow would strictly play under center as a Patriot.
If Tebow is let go, it could be his final chance in the NFL. The quarterback was a free agent for three months before New England signed him and didn’t garner much interest around the league.
All NFL teams must make their final roster cuts by 6 p.m. ET. On Tuesday, the first round of cuts forces organizations to trim their rosters down to 75 players.