Why not keep Tebow?

By: Pete Davidson : March 15, 2013 7:07pm

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The release of Tim Tebow is a foregone conclusion no matter who you talk to these days. People treat it almost as if it has already happened. I have not heard one single member of the media even speculate that the Jets might be better off keeping Tim Tebow. This is interesting to me when I consider all the things we always hear about Tebow. The borderline nauseating conventional wisdom on Tebow is that he’s not an “NFL quarterback”, but that he is a “football player.” Very rarely do you come across anybody who claims that Tebow is worthless. So why the mad rush to get rid of Tebow? The quarterback issue aside, does he not play on a team that is in desperate need of “football players”?

Through no fault of his own, Tebow’s brand took a sizable hit last year in New York. There’s little doubt that Tebow and Tebow’s legion of fans want him out of the Big Apple as soon as possible. The media agrees almost without exception. Jets fans are certainly of the same mind and then some, but should the Jets themselves be of that mind? I don’t think so.

If there is any roster in the entire NFL where Tim Tebow just might be the team’s best chance to win, it would be the Jets. And, if there is a team more desperate to to sell 2013 tickets than Woody Johnson’s Jets, I’d like to know who that team is. With the laughable ticket prices the Jets charge, you could conceivably be looking at local television blackouts in 2013. Really, it’s not that far fetched. If Woody Johnson is not already a laughingstock, he certainly would be at that point. Right now, the Jets are teetering on the edge of being ignored--even by their own fans.

Starting Tebow would make the Jets a very compelling 16-week reality extravaganza. And how would playing Tebow hurt the team’s future any more than playing David Garrard? It’s very clear that winning in 2013 is not the top priority for new Jets GM John Idzik. Based on his actions and his relative inaction, the new GM is more concerned with 2014 compensatory selections than 2013 wins. I can’t say that I blame him, but let’s call this for what it is. The Jets are going back to go forward. They are rebuilding. They are hitting the re-set button. Tim Tebow under center might be, pardon the expression, a blessing. For 16-games, Tebow would make them the most talked about rebuilding team in league history.

I know what some of you are saying. “You don’t ever put ticket sales ahead of winning.” My answer to that would be simple.... I agree, but who says that’s what they would be doing? Again, this is not a team that currently has a starter. They have a collection of buggy-whip arms, oft-injured retreads and butt-fumblers. Tebow may actually give you your best chance to compete while you try to land and or develop your future starter.

Tebow very well may give them their best chance to win in 2013. And, if the Jets want to get really crafty, they can work in Mark Sanchez too. If Sanchez takes to Marty Mornhinweg’s offense, he might be a salvageable asset. If they can show Sanchez off at some point in 2013 as a changed player, they might to be able to get a late pick for him next year versus simply eating his contract in full, not to mention all that tasty dead money that comes along with the transaction. Yes, it sounds crazy, but if I told you two years ago that Jim Harbaugh would eventually trade Alex Smith for a package of quality draft picks, you’d have told me give you some of what I was smoking.

One of the good things about a rebuilding year is that it’s liberating. You can take chances. You can play players for the purposes of developing talent even if it costs you a game here and there. The Jets will doing plenty of this in 2013. Tebow would excite your building, albeit in two different ways, but you’d have some actual cheers to mix in with all the inevitable jeers. Maybe, just maybe, Tebow, combined with an aggressive youthful team, could win the fan base over in ways that the Jets recent overpaid teams could not.

The Jets will not have an elite quarterback on the roster next year. They might have a developmental prospect with franchise upside if they are lucky, but there are no game-ready elite quarterback prospects to be had in this draft. At best, they will have that elite quarterback in 2014. Tebow has shown that he is a team guy. He is willing to help you however he can. If the Jets do happen find a legit winning quarterback between now and Week 1, Tebow will be a good soldier and do his best to help your team. The cap is not being broken by keeping Tebow. You could save some money by cutting him, but you’d add more dead money to your cap than you would achieve in cap savings.

Tim Tebow is not the long term answer at quarterback, but he might be a very wise choice as a short term one or at least as a “football player” on a team that sorely lacks them.

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#1 from .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on March 15, 2013

Tim Tebow is not going to help the Jets, Pete.  I usually agree with you, but the guy is not a winning QB.  Cut him and move on.

#2 from .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on March 15, 2013

I agree that Tebow is not where you WANT to be at the QB position.  However, unless something changes, Tebow has about as much upside as the other QBs on the roster. 

My point is NOT that the Jets should want Tebow as their QB.  They should aim higher for sure.  My point is that simply cutting Tebow is not anywhere near as clear cut as most seem to think, given the state of the roster.  Again, the Jets are losing players left and right and Tebow is a good football player.  Even if he is not the QB, he could help them.  The way Tony Sparano used him last year was odd at best.  Marty Mornhinweg might be able to use him more effectively.

In short, bad teams should not cut good players.  Tebow is a good player, even if he is not a legit full-time QB.  The Jets are a bad team.  Why not give Tebow more field time in 2013 and see what happens?  What do they have to lose at this point?

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