Tim Tebow Trade Speculation: Jets QB Makes More Sense for Cardinals Than Jaguars

Zach KruseSenior Analyst IOctober 31, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 14:  Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets runs from the field against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium on October 14, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

While trade speculation may have been falsely reported between the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, the Arizona Cardinals are one team that makes more sense for Tebow's services. 

The factors that fit a potential landing spot for Tebow are mostly in place in Arizona: a non-existent run game, shaky pass protection and a strong defense. 

Of course, connecting these dots represents nothing more than speculation. As Thursday's trade deadline approaches, the chances of Tebow being dealt appear to be dwindling. 

The first false report of a Tebow trade came late Tuesday night from a news website in Jacksonville. 

According to ActionNewsJax.com, which has since pulled the report, the Jaguars were making a serious play at getting Tebow from the Jets before the deadline. 

NFL.com and several other websites immediately shot down that report on Wednesday morning. 

Albert Breer of NFL Network (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com) reported that no such talks between the Jets and Jaguars were on-going. 

In fact, internal discussion in Arizona about dealing for Tebow probably hasn't even happened. But in terms of hypotheticals, the Cardinals actually make more sense as a trade partner than the Jaguars.  

The obvious starting point involves the Cardinals running game, which has become a complete non-factor in Arizona.

The Cardinals are currently 31st in rushing yards a game at 79.0, and it's only getting worse. Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona rushed for just seven yards on nine carries.  

Tebow, a run-first quarterback who would oversee a run-first offense, brings an immediately sense of respectability to the run game. In 2011, the Denver Broncos led the NFL in rushing yards with Tebow at the helm for the majority of the season. 

Down the road, when running back Beanie Wells returns from the designated IR list, the Cardinals could begin to establish their own identity on the ground. 

Maybe more importantly, Tebow's athleticism and ability to escape pressure would help an offensive line that continues to give up sacks at a historic rate.

With an NFL-high 39 sacks allowed through eight games, the Cardinals are on pace for 78 in 2012.

Tebow certainly wouldn't make the Cardinals' offensive line a strength, but the sack numbers could go down as the playbook shifts and Tebow finds ways to avoid surefire sacks. 

At the very least, Tebow is not the sitting duck that both John Skelton and Kevin Kolb clearly are. 

The Cardinals defense provides the necessary backdrop for a Tebow offense. 

While Tebow possesses play-making ability, it comes and goes. In Denver, Tebow suffered through long stretches of ineptitude during games before springing to life late. That kind of roller coaster ride requires a defense that could hold its own while Tebow and the offense finds its way. 

The Cardinals are sixth in total defense (312.8 yards/game) and fourth in scoring defense (17.8 points/game) this season. 

The Jets remain steadfast on keeping their backup quarterback, so a Tebow trade remains highly unlikely. But there are teams that make sense in a potential deal, and the Cardinals represent one of those teams.