Is an Arena League Roster Spot Really the Best Tim Tebow Can Hope For?

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IMarch 18, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 23: Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets leaves the field after loss to San Diego Chargers at MetLife Stadium on December 23, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky /Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

If Tim Tebow is serious about eventually having a future as an NFL quarterback, the current New York Jets backup must take a long look at an offer on the table from the Arena Football League. 

According to Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, the Orlando Predators of the AFL have a standing offer waiting for Tebow. When he's released by the Jets (it's a matter of when, not if), Tebow should take owner Brett Bouchy up on his offer.

"Tim would certainly want to exhaust his opportunities in the NFL, but we'd love to have him," Bouchy told Bianchi. "Whenever Tim is willing, we have a contract waiting for him to sign."

Tebow remains on the Jets roster, but that arrangement almost certainly has a looming expiration date.

The polarizing quarterback is owed nearly $2.6 million in 2013. With Mark Sanchez, David Garrard, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms now sharing the quarterback depth chart in New York, Tebow's only on the roster now for trading purposes. 

Once the Jets come to the realization that no NFL team is going to deal an asset away for Tebow, New York will have no other option than to flat-out release the quarterback they traded a fourth- and sixth-round pick for last March. 

New York has attempted to deal Tebow, according to ESPN New York. No one is biting. Not even the quarterback-starved Jacksonville Jaguars, who were the only other interested club in Tebow a year ago.

There's a very tangible reason why Tebow won't be sticking around the Big Apple and why his trade interest is as cold as a Canada winter: He's simply not very good at his current position. 

Arguably no team in the NFL had it worse at quarterback than the Jets last season, but Tebow played only a handful of snaps and made zero starts. In fact, noodle-armed Greg McElroy was handed a start over the playoff-experienced Tebow. 

By the end of 2012, Tebow had thrown eight passes. He played more special teams snaps than on offense.

That said, his career as a quarterback doesn't have to end now.

Tebow may never be a Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady-like quarterback, one who can make every throw with precision, avoid game-changing mistakes and demoralize defenses designed to stop the pass. But taking a year or two away from the NFL game and relearning the position in the pass-heavy AFL could be just the remedy his football career needs. 

Once upon a time, Kurt Warner made the transformation from AFL star to NFL-ready quarterback. Three years with the Iowa Barnstormers (1995-97) eventually helped set the stage for Warner to lead the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl. 

According to Bouchy, the AFL could do the same for Tebow:

I think he would definitely improve as a quarterback in our league. Kurt Warner told me once that when he got back to the NFL after playing in the Arena League, the NFL game was like slow motion. Everything in the Arena League is just so much faster and quicker and predicated on accuracy.

If Tebow is going to make as a quarterback in the NFL, he needs to improve his decision-making, mechanics and accuracy. He also simply needs experience playing the position in game-time situations, which isn't something he's going to get in the NFL right now. 

The AFL can provide a platform to improve on all three of his quarterbacking weaknesses, and he'd certainly get experience at the position in Orlando, even if he originally struggled. 

Is there anything more Tebow can ask for?

As evidenced by his unwillingness to change positions, Tebow is a prideful player who wants to make it as a quarterback. That may never happen in the NFL while playing a sideshow clown buried on the depth chart.

The AFL is offering a way to eventually change that reality. Playing in Orlando would also be a comfortable setting for one of Florida's most beloved athletes. 

Leaving the NFL for the AFL would be a monumental and controversial decision from Tebow, who still has legions of fans convinced that he's one of the game's 32 best quarterbacks. But given his current value in the NFL, and the obvious weaknesses in his game preventing any improvement on that value, Tebow needs to step away and reinvent himself as a passer in the AFL. 

While not the ideal scenario, it's one that would provide the most help to Tebow's quest of eventually being a starter in the NFL.