Under new general manager John Idzik, the Jets have undergone a ton of change in a few short months. Many of the former cornerstones of the team, including franchise icon Darrelle Revis, have been shipped out of town as a slew of young talent is infused as the rebuilding process begins.
In midst of this whirlwind of change, there has been on constant handing over the organization: Tim Tebow still hangs in an awkward balance, still under contract with the team that simply refused to start him and essentially destroyed any value he had as an NFL player since being traded from the Denver Broncos.
Now on the same team as the consensus top quarterback of the 2013 draft class, the possibility of Tebow having a future with the Jets seems more of an impossibility by the minute.
Tebow was originally brought in as a replacement for Brad Smith, as Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum felt his absence from the team in 2011 was a big factor in their disappointing 8-8 season, in which they missed the playoffs for the first time in the Rex Ryan era.
As it turned out, the Jets massively overrated Tebow's athleticism and throwing ability, and the "TebowCat" package never panned out. The Jets stumbled to a 6-10 finish, and unfairly, Tebow's addition became the symbol of the poor personnel decisions that doomed the Jets' roster.
Finally, a decision to start Greg McElroy over Tebow in a meaningless Week 16 game brought out the mounting frustration in the player that was busy leading his team to the playoffs a short year ago.
Sources told @richcimini Tebow "looked furious" when told he wasn't the QB. I'm just glad he proved he could look furious.— Ian O'Connor (@Ian_OConnor) December 20, 2012
A divorce seemed inevitable, as ineffective players simply do not stick around on losing teams, especially when a new general manager is brought in to cut the fat. The offensive coordinator brought in to develop the supposed "master plan" for Tebow, Tony Sparano, is now coaching the Raiders' offensive line.
The addition of David Garrard officially put the time clock on Tebow's tenure in New York, and the second-round selection of Geno Smith was supposed to be the final dagger. Geno was not a first round pick like either Sanchez or Tebow, but the fact that they used their third selection on Smith and even considered taling him higher proves that the Jets do not believe in any of the quarterbacks on their roster, no just Tebow.
Jets have made calls today to multiple teams to try to move up from 39th spot in second round to draft QB. Debated Geno Smith at No. 13.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 26, 2013
Yet, here we are, days after the draft, and Tebow is still listed on the Jets' roster.
And quite frankly, it's difficult to justify why.
Clearly, the Jets do not believe in Tim Tebow, the quarterback—after all, was it really a coincidence that Rex Ryan waited until Tebow was conveniently inactive before finally benching Mark Sanchez against the Cardinals?
Why not simply cut ties with the player who symbolized the peak of the Jets' series of poor personnel decisions? Not only will the Jets be rid of what has become an "asset" that is more trouble than it is worth, but they would save $1,055,000 in cap space (per overthecap.com).
It appears as if the Jets are finally beginning to realize that cutting Tebow is an inevitable move, as Manish Mehta of the Daily News reports that Tebow is "probably gone". Still, this sounds like more of an opinion than a true news story, and if the Jets were going to cut Tebow after the draft, they should have done it by now. After all, pointlessly hanging on to Tebow is only unfair to Tebow, as it leaves him with less time and fewer options to pursue as the 2013 season approaches.
Either way, with six quarterbacks on the roster, keeping Tebow on the roster is an impossibility, especially if the Jets intend on keeping Sanchez into the preseason.
For Tebow, he has little choice but to keep his head down and continue on as if all is normal. Making any kind of out-of-character remarks in frustration at the Jets will only hurt his chances further of finding a landing spot in the NFL. The truth is, Tebow is no good enough to allow breathing room for even the slightest of mistakes.
There is no reason to weep for Tebow. After all, if Tebow was truly an effective quarterback, the Jets never would have refused to start him and Geno Smith would have dropped further into the second round.
For every other player in the NFL on the roster bubble, poor practice gets you fired. For Tebow, his poor performance with a red non-contact jersey is simply excused because of his fame. If Tebow is unable to find a job in the NFL, it is because no general manager is willing to risk their job and fate of their franchise on a player who wins exclusively with late-game heroics—and it is hard to blame them for it.
When Tebow finally hits the free agent market, it seems unlikely that he will find a landing spot on an NFL team, especially this late in the offseason. By now, teams will only add free agents to keep enough players in camp or in case of unexpected injuries.
After all, when Tebow hit the trading block in 2011—when his value as a player was at an all-time high after taking the Broncos to the playoffs—there was only one other team, the Jacksonville Jaguars interested in addition to the Jets. Since then, new Jaguars general manager David Caldwell has publicly stated his disinterest in the polarizing quarterback, and Tebow has done nothing but deflate his already-inflated value after one rocky season in New York.
Eventually, a divorce between the Jets and Tebow is inevitable. Now, the only question is whether or not Tebow still has a place in the NFL.
If Tebow is anywhere but inside an NFL facility for the start of the 2013 season, it will be yet another stark reminder.that pure will and determination without elite talent is not enough to sustain success in the Not For Long league.