Tim Tebow: Jets Must Strongly Consider Keeping Polarizing QB for 2013 Season

John RozumCorrespondent IFebruary 25, 2013

Dec. 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA;  New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) walks off the field after a game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets are in an intriguing bind regarding quarterback Tim Tebow.

First, according to Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com last week:

The Jets will try to shop him at this week's scouting combine. The first day they can trade him is March 12, so they might keep him until then with the hope that they can swing a deal. Chances are, no one will bite, so they'll end up releasing him.

But a day later in an article by USA Today's Lindsay Jones, Rex Ryan stated:

"Tim's under contract to be a New York Jet, so we'll see how things go in the offseason. But Tim is under contract," Ryan said.

"I think everything's too early to tell right now," Ryan said. "You really don't know how the offseason goes, how the draft goes, how free agency goes. There are a lot of variables involved. So before I go on record — because, trust me, it'll be covered — I realize now it's a long process."

All that said, the Jets still remain in a dire quarterback situation regardless of Tebow's future. Without him there's simply less competition for Mark Sanchez during training camp. With Tebow the Jets must spend the time and energy attempting to develop his passing mechanics.

Unfortunately for Gang Green, the 2013 NFL draft doesn't offer any quarterbacks, aside from Geno Smith, worthy of a reaching for in the top 10. At the same time, Ryan's defense needs to improve against the run and provide a more consistently reliable pass rush.

So, how does Tebow factor into all of this?

Why not just retain the quarterback?

Mark Sanchez regressed throughout 2012 and didn't fare much better in 2011. The free agent market isn't loaded with immense quarterback talent, which puts the Jets in a tougher situation.

Obviously Tebow's contract is certainly a concern, but it's way less impacting compared to Sanchez's. And after the past two seasons we can't expect much more from Sanchez either.

However, Tebow did prove he could lead, as evidence of the Denver Broncos' miracle run in 2011. One of those victories came over the Jets in comeback fashion.

One thing New York also provides is a solid rushing attack. The presence of Shonn Greene in the backfield forces a defense to respect the Jets in the trenches, and that helps set up play-action—Gang Green ranked No. 12 in rushing last season, and Greene tacked over 1,000 yards. However, as Jason La Canfora notes, there's no guarantee Greene, an impending free agent, will be back with the Jets in 2013.

At this stage in New York's offense there's really nothing to lose by giving Tebow a chance to at least compete for the starting role. The AFC East is not defensively dominant, and the Jets also face the entire NFC South next year, as well as the Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders.

In short, the schedule favors Tebow's ability to slam up the gut, launch to receivers downfield and make plays out of the pocket. Worst-case scenario is a similar campaign to 2012, but 2013 only worsens with Sanchez because he doesn't present the dynamic skill set of Tebow.

Should the Jets stick with Sanchez, though, we can only imagine the pressure for him entering this fall. The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins are improving within the division while the New England Patriots remain the standard, so fast improvement is key.

The impact of Tebow simply allows the Jets to be more unpredictable, and also give the fans a different offense to check out.