Tim Tebow Should Use Arena League to Refine QB Skills

Ethan GrantAnalyst IApril 4, 2013

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 11:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets passes against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 11, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

It's becoming painfully clear that Tim Tebow doesn't have a guaranteed roster spot in the NFL anymore.

Instead of trying to prove that he can captain an offense through tryouts and game film, Tebow should take a standing offer from the Arena Football League—which has already been extended by the Orlando Predators (via Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel)—and follow in the footsteps of former NFL and Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner.

Just a year removed from a magical run as the Denver Broncos' starting quarterback that included a playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tebow can't get off the bench with the New York Jets in what is a more disappointing QB situation than Kyle Orton ever was in Denver.

Consistently passed over for both Mark Sanchez and Greg McElroy with the Jets, Tebow is expected to be a salary cap casualty this offseason. The trade that brought him to the Big Apple is a monumental joke by all NFL standards now, as the Jets sent draft picks to Denver as a part of the wasted deal.

Tebow's final line with the Jets: 12 games, 39 yards passing, 102 yards rushing, zero total touchdowns.

"Disappointing" pretty much sums it up.

The only real reason Tebow is still No. 15 in green and white is because the Jets have yet to find a trade partner that suits their fancy. It seems no one is willing to take a chance on the most polarizing player in the NFL right now, which is certainly disappointing to Tebow lovers after guys like Rex Grossman, Drew Stanton, Dennis Dixon and Kevin Kolb all found new homes this offseason.

Some may think it's a joke, but the AFL should be a realistic option for Tebow next season.

Let's get something out of the way first: It's not going to be his first choice.

If we know anything about Tim Tebow from his time at Florida (two national championships) and Denver (six game-winning drives in 2011) it's that the guy just doesn't quit. Being told no seems to motivate him to new heights, as it did when doubters wrote Denver out of the AFC playoff picture in 2011.

Once a release from the Jets is finalized, Tebow will start looking for new NFL work. Interested teams will likely emerge (Seattle, Chicago, Jacksonville and San Francisco could all be in play, one speculates), but there just isn't a chance to compete for a starting QB job in the NFL right now.

Ironically, the best place to compete for that kind of role (with the Jets) has no interest in ever handing the QB reigns to Tebow full time. Jacksonville figured to be his best landing spot, but general manager David Caldwell firmly downplayed any mutual interest earlier this offseason (via ESPN).

Why can't Tebow go succeed in the AFL for a year?

Think of it as minor league football.

Where else can a player go to get better at the game, get a paycheck every week and still maintain a semblance of public notoriety in the game of football today? NFL Europe doesn't exist anymore, the Canadian Football League will be in full swing by mid-June and doesn't end until November and unfortunately for sports fans everywhere, the XFL is no more.

The AFL remains a viable option this season.

If you don't read any other sentence from this public plea urging Tebow to join up with the Predators, read this one, courtesy of owner Brett Bouchy in the Orlando Sentinel piece. The biggest drawback to Tebow as a starting QB is a combination of his throwing motion/accuracy, something the AFL could ultimate help solve:

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.

Everyone knows that Kurt Warner's path to the NFL was less than ceremonious. As a member of the Iowa Barnstormers, Warner took the squad to the Arena Bowl in consecutive seasons, and got a number NFL tryouts based on his improved accuracy, throwing motion and overall QB IQ in the AFL.

It's a path that Tebow could realistically follow.

As noted by Bianchi, Tebow's biggest weaknesses would all be on display with the Predators. If he couldn't fix them with an AFL team, then there's little chance of a resurgence with an NFL team:

Now I ask you: What are the three weaknesses Tebow's critics always harp on when they talk about his inability to be an NFL quarterback? Answer: (1) Mechanics. (2) Slow release. (3) Lack of accuracy.

The timing could make the AFL a place Tebow could go, improve and then put his name in the pool of free-agent QBs when teams start needing help at the position (injuries, poor play) in the 2013 season.

The AFL has already started this year, but it's hard to see Orlando pulling the plug on the contract offer because Tebow is a few weeks late to the party. The sooner the Jets make a decision on Tebow's New York future, the sooner he could join up with the AFL (which ends in September) before heading back to the NFL with a full season of starting QB experience.

In the AFL, you have to make decisions on a whim. The field is diminished, the surroundings are tighter and everything is magnified in the pocket (even with a three-man rush). Tebow's footwork, throwing motion and accuracy would all benefit from experience as a starter on a team that wouldn't have to take him out of the lineup each time he makes a mistake.

At the end of the day, all Tebow is looking for is a chance.

If the NFL isn't going to give it to him (which is looking like an actuality with each passing day), the AFL would be happy to extend an invitation for his services. Instead of making a joke about how much of a lower class the AFL is than the NFL, recognize that this could be an opportunity to get better at the only position Tebow is interested in playing.

It might be his last opportunity to do so in the game of football.