New England Patriots third-string quarterback Tim Tebow isn't guaranteed a roster spot this year, despite the fact that many people believe otherwise. He's one player among dozens of others who must absolutely earn his place on the team's final 53-man roster.
Among those who believe Tebow's spot is secure is Ben Volin of the Boston Globe:
Though I disagree with his final verdict, Volin makes some excellent points in his column about why he believes Tebow will not be cut.
He astutely notes the difference between Tebow and a player who is brought on board as a "camp arm," argues his usefulness as a read-option scout quarterback and points out that the Patriots need more guys like Tebow in the locker room.
But in the end, Tebow will be cut if the Patriots don't see enough out of him this preseason to conclude he has the potential to become a starting quarterback in the near future.
When the Patriots opened up training camp, Tebow was seen lining up with wide receivers and running backs in a pass-catching drill, as noted by Albert Breer of NFL Network, that is designed to help players work on ball security.
Many in the media, myself included, concluded that the Patriots would perhaps use Tebow as a tight end/h-back player this year while Rob Gronkowski recovers from his offseason surgeries. It didn't take long, however, for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to shoot down this speculation, as reported by Volin.
Tebow will be a quarterback on New England's roster this year, or he'll be looking for work.
There's no middle ground.
And, from what we've heard coming out of Patriots camp this summer, Tebow continues to struggle in practice, as he did when he was a member of the New York Jets. Volin noted this in his column about why Tebow would not be cut, as did Tom E. Curran of Comcast SportsNet New England:
To assume that the Patriots will keep the enigmatic signal-caller is to disregard history. Belichick has never shied away from cutting players—no matter what kind of "potential" they may have.
Ryan Mallett by all accounts has been developing nicely under Brady the past few years, and if the Patriots believe they can win with him, then he'll be the guy going forward when Brady retires.
Roster spots are precious commodities.
Players who reside on the fringe of the 53-man roster usually are there because they've found ways to be valuable members of the team—usually on special teams.
If Tebow isn't going to be able to help the Patriots on Sundays, then he is fair game to be cut before the regular season begins.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78