Why Tim Tebow fits perfectly with the New England Patriots
- Updated: April 30, 2013
On Monday the Jets cut ties with embattled quarterback Tim Tebow after only one season. No one picked him up on Waivers Tuesday, and now he’s officially a free agent. The Jets made a big mistake by picking him up because they had no idea how to use him, and now they are still paying Denver on the deal ($1.531 million).
While some have speculated on a few landing spots for Tebow, teams have been quick to deny any interest in him at quarterback. The Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Seattle Seahawks have all denied any interest after their names were mentioned as possible theoretical suitors. There were also rumors that the Jets received “feelers” about Tebow’s interest in switching positions to tight end or fullback. Evidently there was no interest from Tim’s end at the time those questions were asked because there were no trade offers on the table prior to his release from NYJ.
The question remaining is: Where does Tim Tebow belong? He obviously hasn’t been able to convince anyone in his three years in the league that his pure passer skills are valuable, and teams aren’t interested in grabbing him solely for his ability to run. It makes sense. No one wants to give him quarterback money to be a sub par passer. But, what if teams didn’t have to give him quarterback money? What if those position switch questions spark something that actually touches on the correct way to handle a unique athlete like Tebow? He’s athletic and strong, a great runner who can shed tacklers (an unusual trait for QBs), a moving motivator, and a fierce competitor. He has skills that could find a home in the NFL.
He’s obviously too much of a risk for most teams, and the vast majority of teams in the NFL just don’t have the versatility and know how from their offensive coordinators to think outside of the box enough to truly find a fit for a player like Tim Tebow. He’s simply not worth the hassle for most teams. But, there is one. The New England Patriots are the perfect landing spot for him. Not as a quarterback, but as a tight end/fullback/utility player. Leave it to them to figure out the position details to make the contract make sense. There are a few things working in Tebow’s favor in New England that make this make sense. One, the Pats offensive coordinator (Josh McDaniels) is who pined for Tebow and led to the Broncos drafting him in 2010. Two, he’s a prototypical Patriots kind of guy. He’s a good guy, a hard worker, he’s tough, and he’s a great teammate. And third, New England has excelled at finding fits for players with unique skill sets as utility players as a means to further bolster a strong offense led by Tom Brady. Look at players like Julian Edelman, Danny Woodhead, Kevin Faulk, and Troy Brown to name a few. They’re also good at getting quality players at a good price because they’re known for giving guys a chance (à la Randy Moss, Brandon Lloyd, and Chad Johnson) with smart contracts, and in turn aren’t afraid to cut ties when it doesn’t work out. Successful teams can take those kinds of risks.
Look at Tebow’s numbers. No one is all that interested in bringing a circus for that production. On the flip side, look at what he can do when he runs the ball and starts hitting guys. He’s 6’3″ and 236 pounds. There are a lot of defenders that really don’t want to see that guy barreling down on them, especially given how fleet of foot he is. In three seasons in the NFL Tebow rushed 197 times for 989 yards and 12 touchdowns. That’s a very respectable 5.6 yards per carry. Put this guy in the game as a fullback or tight end. Let him run the ball or receive out of the backfield. Sure, maybe try the occasional gadget “Wildcat” play because the variety is what can make it work. The Patriots can do that with him. Sure, he wouldn’t be a huge part of the offense. You don’t need all that much trickeration and gadgets when Tom Brady is your quarterback, but Tebow can offer versatility that fits with the team’s style of keeping defenses guessing.
Historically, plenty of college quarterbacks have switched positions in order to find a fit in the NFL. Look at players like Dennis Franklin, Julian Edelman, Matt Jones, Brad Smith, Josh Cribbs, Antwaan Randle El, Freddie Solomon, and Brian Mitchell as examples. It happens. The only difference is usually the players wind up switching early on rather than banging around the league trying to cut it at quarterback. However, non of those players possessed the skill set that Tebow has. It would be a smart move for him, and the Pats are a nice fit. Or, maybe he’ll go play in Canada….
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...