Tim Tebow: Why the New England Patriots Should Sign the Former New York Jets QB

Craig HutchinsonContributor IIIApril 30, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14:  Tim Tebow #15 (R) of the Denver Broncos congraulates head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots after the Patriots won 45-10 during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Tim Tebow.

Given the publicity that surrounds his name, Tebow could be the most talked about backup quarterback in the history of the NFL.

Except that Tebow was not even a backup quarterback last season; he was a third-string QB who ran a limited wildcat package and played special teams.

While people took to Twitter yesterday to mock and lament the media circus surrounding Tebow's release from the New York Jets, the landing spot of the former Heisman Trophy winner should intrigue sports fans around the country, whether they like to admit it or not.

If there's one spot that would generate more attention that anywhere else, it would with the arch enemy of the Jets, the New England Patriots.

I'm not saying this is a reason I think the Patriots should go after Tebow—far from it—but the unfathomable coverage would be a sideshow to what could be a shrewd move for New England.

Lets get this out of the way early: Tim Tebow is not a reliable and viable starting quarterback in the NFL (sorry Skip Bayless). It's not like the Patriots need a starting QB with Brady still playing at an elite level.

Despite trade rumors of backup Ryan Mallett, Tebow should not be considered for that role either but instead for a role similar to that of Aaron Hernandez.

Coach Bill Belichick has shown over the years that he likes players with versatility who can play multiple sets and multiple positions.

Whether it be Troy Brown playing wide receiver and cornerback or Mike Vrabel playing linebacker and tight end, there is none more versatile than Aaron Hernandez.

Listed as a tight end, Hernandez has been utilized as a receiving tight end, slot receiver, wide receiver, halfback, fullback and running back in various sets. His ability to simply walk onto the field and have the opposition defense clueless about where he's going to line up has made Hernandez arguably New England's most important offensive player after Tom Brady.

It's important to remember that Hernandez is coming off of surgery, like his fellow playmaking tight end Rob Gronkowski likely will. There may be a hole to fill by the time the season rolls around.

So who could fill a void like that?

Tebow is undoubtedly a talented athlete.

He has the size and speed that saw him rush for over 5.3 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns when playing regularly with the Broncos, which suggests he may be of some use out of the backfield.

His play in the Jets special teams last season shows he has the size and ability to block. While we haven't had the opportunity to gauge his receiving skills yet, we can assume they should be competent, given that most quarterbacks warm up their arms by throwing and catching the ball.

This raw athleticism does not guarantee he can run routs and master a playbook. However, it shows Tebow has the raw athletic tools that give him the potential to serve as a multidimensional skill player in an offense that loves multidimensional skill players.

Despite Belichick being very coy when giving press conferences, the man who famously resigned as "HC of NYJ" after a few hours of being appointed has shown in the past he loves to take on players who are deemed as lost causes.

Corey Dillon, Rodney Harrison and Danny Woodhead were success stories; Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco were not. Julian Edelman was a career quarterback the Patriots turned into a productive NFL receiver.

But the challenge of turning Tebow into a viable NFL contributor and rubbing it in the faces of their division rival might be too tempting for Belichick to pass up, especially given the previous praise Belichick has sent Tebow's way and the fact that the two had dinner just before Tebow's draft.

There are a lot of things aligning to signal that this is something could actually work. It would be the type of low risk, high reward deal New England loves. If it doesn't work, he gets cut. If it does work, Belickick looks like a genius and the Patriots continue to dominate the NFL's offensive statistics.

Media intrusion never seems to phase New England, but Tebow moving to the Patriots would be a big story.

It could be a big story with a very happy ending.