Tim Tebow’s last appearance in the NFL could very well be Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. One of several players clinging to the Philadelphia Eagles roster, Tebow’s competition with Matt Barkley for the third-quarterback spot culminates in a matchup with his former squad, the New York Jets.
The 28-year-old, now trying to make his third NFL team since Denver drafted him No. 25 overall in 2010, is expected to relieve the starter Barkley in the second half. From that point on its up to Tebow to separate himself from Barkley in the eyes of head coach Chip Kelly.
Thus far, Tebow provided glimpses of solid play, going 10-for-19 for 95 yards and rushing for another 50 yards on 10 attempts with one touchdown in the Eagles first three preseason games. But a strong performance against New York could help him leapfrog the more traditional pocket-passer Barkley.
Essentially, a full 30 minutes of game-time separates Tebow from a wide swath of scenarios, from making the team outright to potentially the end of his NFL career.
Here are the five scenarios that could extend or stunt Tebow’s career from here on out.
Tebow Makes The Eagles And Plays
The Eagles could easily decide to keep Tebow and use him as the third stringer, and also on two-point conversions on special downs and at different positions. Tebow’s two attempts for two points were both stymied against Green Bay last week, but his rushing ability is the one skill teams tend to covet. With the NFL shortening the distance on two-point tries this year, he could be a valuable asset to Philadelphia. It's possible Tebow, with his unique skill set, could be used at different positions, as well.
Tebow Makes The Eagles But Doesn’t Play
Few third-stringers play and the Eagles can choose to keep Tebow on the bench behind Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez. The Eagles entered camp with four quarterbacks for myriad reasons, but mostly due to the fact that Bradford is coming off successive torn ACL injuries in his knees and the risk of re-injury is cause enough to have several contingencies. But Bradford is currently at full strength, and Sanchez has enough experience to keep Tebow sitting on the sidelines all season.
Eagles Keep Barkley, Drop Tebow
It's possible Kelly simply decides to go with a more polished passer in Barkley, and lets Tebow walk. Having played only three previous seasons, Tebow would then be placed on waivers, which allows another team to scoop him up. After Saturday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline to trim rosters to 53, all NFL teams have until noon Sunday to put in a claim for Tebow. However, if he does clear waivers then the Eagles could decide to add him to their 10-man practice squad.
Tebow is Waived, No Team Picks Him Up
The possibility exists that Tebow takes an inactive role in the NFL in 2015 and waits for a team with quarterback problems to call. He’s upped his accuracy to better than 52 percent in the preseason, but with the passing game taking over the league Tebow’s chances of making another squad are slim unless he decides to switch positions. He has completed 173 passes in his career, which may not be enough for a team to give him a shot.
Tebow Doesn’t Play Another Down For An NFL Team
Because of his age, teams may decide to forgo taking a chance on Tebow. Another inactive season is a possibility given that he completed the Patriots' training camp last year and no team took a chance on him. Before his stint with New England, Tebow hadn’t appeared with any other team since the Jets in 2012. However, he’s made it known many times that he remains committed to an NFL career. It seems likely he will continue to pursue an NFL roster spot even if teams don't come calling in 2015.