Tim Tebow got a raw deal with the New York Jets. Too bad it was likely his last deal.
Tebow was dumped by the Jets on Monday in a short news release that was a telling contrast with the full-blown news conference that announced his arrival in a trade with the Denver Broncos last year. The Jets changed general managers since last year. The new one has no love for Tebow, and the drafting of West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith sealed Tebow's ouster.
If you love Tebow, and a lot of people do, you hope he gets another chance. If you're tired of Tebow, and a lot of people are, you hope he goes away quietly.
If you're like me, someone who likes Tebow but tires of his hype (I know, I'm hypocritical to contribute), here's what I see: the end of the road.
I don't see another NFL team taking a chance with Tebow at quarterback, and he's apparently not interested in switching to tight end or fullback. That's shortsighted and a tad egotistical on his part, but that's his call. If all he wants is to be an NFL player, he'll explore non-quarterback options. If all he wants is to be an NFL quarterback, that ship has sailed.
It's unfortunate the way circumstances forced Tebow out of Denver, where he had success and a memorable playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Peyton Manning hadn't been hurt and the Indianapolis Colts hadn't stunk enough to earn the No. 1 pick and move ahead with Andrew Luck, Tebow might have stayed in Denver. But the Colts shift happened. Call it fate. Call it destiny. The result for Tebow was a year in Jets purgatory.
Tebow has reached his term limit, so to speak, as an NFL quarterback. If you're not a starter by the start of your fourth year in the league, it's time to embrace a backup role or move into broadcasting. It's hard to see any backup spots emerging.
While Tebow might be a serviceable emergency quarterback, no team will take on the sideshow. It's not worth the headache. You only take Tebow now if you plan to start him. No one will.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, who need a quarterback and fans, have made it known they are not interested in Tebow. The Oakland Raiders, a franchise celebrated for giving high-profile struggling players second, third and fourth chances, acquired Matt Flynn and drafted Tyler Wilson. They're not looking for a QB now.
Some have thrown the San Francisco 49ers out there, saying Tebow could come in as backup for Colin Kaepernick. I suppose that could happen. But would a Super Bowl contender willingly take on the inevitable media drama for a guy who won't play unless the season is sinking?
A bottom-line problem with Tebow appeared in an ESPN graphic Monday: Tebow is one of five quarterbacks with at least 300 pass attempts in his first three seasons to complete fewer than 48 percent. The others are Bubby Brister, Steve Beuerlein, Heath Shuler and Akili Smith. That's not great company to keep.
Tebow cannot consistently throw like a top NFL quarterback. If you can't pass in this league, you won't play, no matter what else you do.
Are the Jets at fault for expediting Tebow's eventual exit out of the league? No question. They traded to get him, supposedly intent on working him into their offense in the “wildcat” formation. Instead, he was on the punt team. He stood. He rusted. Even when there was a chance for him to play late in a horrible season, Jets coach Rex Ryan decided to go with No. 3 quarterback Greg McElroy instead. If Tebow used curse words, that was the time for the big ones.
Backup and third-string quarterbacks, and every other position, get released all the time. The NFL is a business. It's not personal. Most of these guys who are cut don't get a second thought from the teams' hardcore fans.
Tebow is different because he's a celebrity. He became one through his college success, his charisma and his demonstrative Christian faith, which attracts some people and irritates others. From my viewpoint, a healthy distance away, he deserves credit for being who he is and not compromising. But he doesn't deserve anything more on the field than any other struggling NFL player.
Tebow was a dynamic college football player. He has been a mediocre to poor NFL player, with an occasional burst of thrilling play.
Tebow Time has expired in New York, and probably everywhere else.