Peyton Manning's decision about where he will play football next season is the one move that had the ability to drastically alter the shape of the 2012 NFL offseason. Now that the chips have fallen, it seems the second wave of free agency could take on an interesting flavor.
Manning's decision to go to Denver, reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, has the ripple effect of displacing current starter and fan favorite Tim Tebow, in addition to that of giving Buffalo fans something to think about.
With that being the case, and the fact that many of the quarterback-needy teams coming into this offseason already finding answers, Tebow's value perhaps couldn't be any lower. There are perhaps three teams that might take a flier on Tebow, because of his popularity amongst fans, and one of them should be Buffalo.
The Cleveland Browns have to do something to galvanize their fans. However, with his deficiencies as a passer and bad fit for a West Coast offense, Tebow will likely not be sought for by Mike Holmgren's Browns team.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a heavy favorite as a contender for Tebow's services, but a decision to bring Tebow in could cause some major internal strife as new coach Mike Mularkey and general manager Gene Smith are likely to frown on this move. Although, Jaguars owner Shahid Khan is literally salivating at the prospect of bringing in the homegrown legend.
With all that being said, Buffalo offers the best fit for Tebow. I am not in any way suggesting that Tebow should be the starter in Buffalo, nor have I seen anything that would indicate he would be an upgrade over Ryan Fitzpatrick as a passer. Yet Buffalo, as evidenced by the Jim Kelly-Frank Reich era, knows how to handle having a talented, spark-providing yet limited backup passer.
Tebow could be the next Reich in Buffalo, providing a spark and helping to lead the team when called upon. In addition to that the time he spends working on the fundamentals of his craft under the steady eye of coach Chan Gailey could pay huge dividends for his long-term prospects.
Tebow could stand to benefit from a move to Buffalo, and the Bills could improve as well. In Gailey's creative offense, Tebow would become an ultimate weapon. Reminding him of his "Slash" days in Pittsburgh, Gailey could envision Tebow crashing into the end zone. When conditions break down for passing on a blustery day in Buffalo, Tebow could be a game-changer.
Buffalo clearly needs an upgrade at its backup quarterback position, as Tyler Thigpen leaves much to be desired and should probably be the No. 3 option on a competitive team. Sadly, however, one collateral effect of the Bills spending a heavily warranted sole focus on Mario Williams is that they missed out on all of the quality QB backups who were released into the market.
This year's draft doesn't have too many passers the Bills should take a flier on after the first round, and most certainly none who would be ready to step in on game day. With these factors being the case, Tebow for a low-round draft choice or package should be an option the Bills brass takes a look at.