Frustrated with his minimal role—if it could even be called such a thing—and a generally disastrous 2012 season in the Big Apple, New York Jets backup QB Tim Tebow has reportedly requested a release or trade. This news was initially broken on Thursday by Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday.
The last straw was Greg McElroy being named the starter for Week 16 and presumably the season finale, leapfrogging Tebow despite being inactive the past two games.
Tebow needs a fresh start, and thanks to a weak QB draft class and a severe lack of free-agent options for 2013, there are opportunities for him. Here are the three best places for him to get that opportunity—not to mention some actual playing time.
A lot of Tebow's future depends on scheme and the prospective coaches tied to those schemes. That will also determine what his role is for the rest of his pro football career—whether it's at QB or another position.
Pretty sure Blaine Gabbert will turn out to be a bust, and no one knows what to make of Chad Henne at this point. What's the harm in throwing Tebow into the fire?
It's his hometown, fans adore him there and it would make the small-market Jags relevant once again and put people in the seats. The combination of superstar RB Maurice Jones-Drew alongside Tebow in the backfield is also tantalizing to consider.
However, Mike Mularkey may not be keen on designing a scheme around Tebow's strengths. But then again, he might be out of a job after just one season in Jacksonville, anyway.
This team nearly acquired Tebow in the first place when he left Denver, and it shouldn't pass up the opportunity a second time.
Speaking of Mularkey possibly departing, the Jags may be in line to hire the perfect replacement for the franchise and for Tebow.
Allow me to explain that.
With his revolutionary, innovative spread offense, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly is generating lots of interest from the NFL. According to NFL Network's Michael Lombardi, he is the hottest name on the coaching market right now.
Mix Tebow and MJD, perhaps pick up Kenjon Barner in the middle of the draft—someone who understands Kelly's system—and the Jags would suddenly have one of the most potential-packed backfields in all of football.
Kelly would maximize Tebow's talents.
While he may not always throw the prettiest spiral and he short-hops some simple underneath throws, one thing Tebow can do is throw the deep ball. That is simply undeniable. Either watch the tape, or consider the 31 yards per completion he averaged in the Denver Broncos' postseason triumph over the Pittsburgh Steelers' No. 1 pass defense in 2011.
If the Jags could establish the run as well as Tebow and the Broncos did and allow him to enter camp as the starter, maybe, just maybe, it could work for at least one year.
The up-tempo style is just what Tebow thrived in at Florida, and it's what Kelly would implement in Jacksonville if given the head coaching and play-calling duties. Top-five pick Justin Blackmon would also love that development, as his similar, hurry-up system at Oklahoma State allowed him to post gaudy numbers for the Cowboys.
Throw in the emergence of Cecil Shorts III, free agent acquisition Laurent Robinson and the occasional explosiveness of TE Marcedes Lewis, and this offense could be extremely dangerous.
It sounds crazy, but isn't there at least a ray of hope there?
This current Jacksonville outfit looks horrible and is among the teams most likely to have turnover on the coaching staff.
Kansas City Chiefs
Picture this: Tim Tebow and Jamaal Charles working the zone-read option together. Don't forget about the unprecedented truck-stick capabilities of a Tebow-Peyton Hillis combination too.
How much fun would that be?
Convincing star wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to stick around for one year of this madness might be difficult, but the Chiefs would still have the immensely talented Jonathan Baldwin, RB-WR hybrid Dexter McCluster and tight ends Tony Moeaki and Kevin Boss.
There is plenty of skill there, but it would have to be the right coach and the right situation, which makes this destination a bit of a wild card.
If the Chiefs draft at No. 1 overall and aren't too crazy about West Virginia QB Geno Smith at that slot—Scouts Inc. certainly isn't, as Smith rates at No. 23 (via ESPN) on their big board—somebody has to play QB in 2013.
KC fans are definitely upset at the direction the team has gone in, but there are simply no good options at the game's most important position. The Chiefs may either grab an old veteran from free agency or start a rookie that doesn't get drafted in the first round. Ricky Stanzi may even get an opportunity.
The worst that could happen with Tebow is another bad year, another high draft pick and an enhanced chance at landing the quarterback of the future, if Tebow turns out not to be it.
Chip Kelly would be a great hire for this team, too, especially with the personnel of Charles, Hillis, McCluster and Baldwin already in place.
New England Patriots
Okay, so even with the Chip Kelly factor aside, Jacksonville makes a lot of sense for Tebow, as does the dire situation at QB in Kansas City.
That said, the more "realistic" scenario on Tebow's 2013 whereabouts will likely boil down to a strong organization already with a quarterback in place that will sign him, try to groom him and use him as a utility player.
There aren't many better franchises for Tebow to look at in that regard than the Patriots. Josh McDaniels was the head coach in Denver that drafted Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft, and he obviously saw potential in designing an offense around him.
Criticize McDaniels if you must, but it's pretty clear that he knows how to design an offense. Check out that juggernaut Tom Brady is in charge of every week.
As excellent as Brady is, McDaniels has called the shots this season and in 2007, when the team went undefeated. He knows him some offense, and he had a plan for Tebow that he never got to implement with the Broncos.
How much would he desire another shot at molding Tebow into a successful NFL QB?
Even if that can't happen, McDaniels above just about anyone else could find some other use for Tebow in the Pats' dynamic offense.
It would at least be worth a shot, as Tebow could learn the position from Brady and sharpen up his football IQ, which is another big knock on him. It would add another weapons to the New England arsenal and also be a golden opportunity for Tebow to quietly work on his game, adhere to the "Patriot Way" and possibly reemerge someday as a viable QB.