Considering how little the New York Jets have used him, Tim Tebow will probably be playing elsewhere in 2013.
After an inefficient but magical playoff run with the Denver Broncos last season, Tebow has hardly seen the field this year. Through Week 15, he has played in 11 games, completing 6-of-8 passes for 39 yards and rushing 32 times for 102 yards. He has yet to score a touchdown with New York. Not exactly the stuff of miracles.
Even though they traded for him, it's clear the Jets are not interested in Tebow's particular skill set. So what teams might be interested in a strong running quarterback with a flair for the dramatic?
The Jags were the hottest rumored destination for Tebow in the 2010 NFL draft, largely because of Tebow's local roots. He was raised in Jacksonville and played his high school ball there before becoming a legend playing for the Florida Gators.
Since Tebow entered the league, the Jaguars' QB situation has not gotten much better. David Garrard is gone, and Jacksonville has gotten a whole lot of mediocrity out of 2011 first-rounder Blaine Gabbert. In 2012, the tandem of Gabbert and Chad Henne has put Jacksonville in the bottom 10 in just about every passing category this season.
If nothing else, Tebow would energize the moribund Jacksonville fan base simply by virtue of being on the roster. There's also the prospect of Tebow and Maurice Jones-Drew teaming up for a punishing read option attack.
With so few answers at the quarterback position, that sort of creative approach to the offense could be attractive for the Jaguars.
Cam Newton ran away with the 2011 Offensive Rookie of the Year award due to his downfield passing and his running ability. He was very effective at throwing the deep ball, which created space for him to pick up yardage on the ground.
Tebow operates in very much the same way. Obviously he's not the passer Newton is, but in his time with Denver, Tebow struggled primarily on the short passes. His accuracy actually improved when he was airing it out on offense.
Not only would Tebow allow the Panthers to largely play the same offensive scheme if Newton has to leave the field, it would allow Carolina to experiment with some interesting personnel packages.
The Panthers have occasionally utilized the Wildcat in recent years, usually with DeAngelo Williams under center. Having two athletic QBs like Newton and Tebow would allow Carolina to confuse defenses by putting both on the field, with either a threat to throw or run.
Unlike Mark Sanchez in New York, no one is going to worry about Tebow usurping Newton in Carolina. The potential reward would outweigh the risk for the Panthers.
San Francisco 49ers
Colin Kaepernick is the quarterback of the future in San Francisco. That means the quarterback of the past, Alex Smith, will likely be playing elsewhere in 2013.
Smith has established himself as a capable starting QB in the NFL, which means he's more valuable to the Niners as a trade chip than he is holding a clipboard.
Should Smith get shipped out, Tebow could be a logical choice to take his place in San Francisco. Like with Newton, Tebow would allow the Niners to stay in their base offense should he have to spell Kaepernick. Plus, Tebow's strength and Kaepernick's game-breaking speed could make for an interesting dual QB package for Jim Harbaugh.
It's possible that Harbaugh would like to avoid the Tebow media circus in 2012, seeing as Harbaugh is currently quieting a quarterback controversy of his own making. That said, if there's anyone who could manage Tebow as a personality and keep his locker room in check, it's Harbaugh.
This pairing would be mutually beneficial for Tebow, too. There is no better coach than Harbaugh to help him develop as a passer.
It would be an outside-the-box decision to add Tebow to a playoff contender, but Harbaugh did just switch quarterbacks with a first-place team. He's no stranger to such thinking.
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