The New York Jets have officially ended "the Tim Tebow experiment."
On Monday morning, the club announced that they had granted the quarterback his release. After a six-win season filled with controversy, New York decided Tebow no longer had a place on the roster.
The news was a long time coming for the Jets backup quarterback. Even before the 2012 season finished, there were rumors that the Jets would trade or release Tebow. His fate was sealed on Friday when New York drafted West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith in the second round.
Tebow had little to no impact on the field in his time with the Jets. He took just 77 snaps in 2012, completing six of eight pass attempts. He never became an integral part of New York’s offense, like head coach Rex Ryan had advertised him to be when the club traded for him.
With Tebow as a free agent, 31 other NFL teams have a chance to sign the quarterback. Will Tebow find a job by the start of the 2013 season?
Below are the three most likely destinations for Tebow.
Ever since the Denver Broncos signed Peyton Manning last year, there have been rumors that Tebow will end up with the Jaguars.
In the 2012 offseason, there were reports that Jacksonville was in the discussions to acquire Tebow before he was traded to New York. In December, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that it was a “virtual certainty” Tebow would end up in Jacksonville.
Publicly, the organization has denied having any interest in Tebow. They drafted Blaine Gabbert two years ago and seem determined to give the Missouri product at least one more chance to succeed. Despite struggling in his first two NFL seasons, Jacksonville passed up the opportunity to pick a quarterback in the draft.
The Florida native's stock may be as low as it has been since he entered the league, but it might not be much of a risky signing for a team that won two games last season.
The addition of Chip Kelly as the team’s head coach makes the Eagles one of the most likely teams to take a chance on Tebow.
When he coached at Oregon, Kelly ran a prolific offense that was predicated on having a running quarterback. In his last season in college football, Kelly’s lead signal caller, Marcus Mariota, ran the ball 106 times for 752 yards.
With Philadelphia, Kelly already has a mobile quarterback in Michael Vick. However, the rookie head coach knows he can’t count on Vick to stay healthy for all 16 games. Vick missed nine combined games in the past two years, and the Eagles could benefit from having a backup that has the skills to run Kelly’s offense.
The presence of Nick Foles, Dennis Dixon, and newly drafted Matt Barkley could prevent the Eagles from signing another free agent quarterback, but it doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Foles was drafted under Any Reid, who’s now with the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Eagles don't have much invested in Barkley, having taken him in the fourth round.
The Bears rarely come up in discussions involving Tim Tebow, but according to Pro Football Talk, Chicago could be one of the few teams that have interest in the former Heisman Trophy winner.
Shortly after the 2013 season ended, a source told the Web site, “watch the Bears,” in regards to Tebow’s future. Marc Trestman helped train Tebow before he was drafted, and he replaced Lovie Smith as Chicago’s head coach in the offseason. Trestman kept an eye on Tebow in his time as a coach in the CFL.
Chicago might be able to avoid much of the controversy that New York experienced with Tebow. Mark Sanchez’s unproven track record led to speculation that Tebow would eventually replace him as the Jets quarterback. With Jay Cutler at the helm, there won’t be much confusion as to what Tebow’s role will be with the club.
Two years ago, the Bears missed the playoffs because they didn’t have a reliable backup behind Cutler. Tebow led the Broncos to the postseason in 2011, and might be able to help Chicago for a few games, if Cutler gets injured.