Former New York Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum was wrong when he said the Tim Tebow trade was the biggest mistake of his tenure (he must have forgotten about giving Mark Sanchez a five-year, $58.25 million extension that same offseason), but he was right about one thing: Tim Tebow will get another opportunity to be an NFL quarterback.
Tannenbaum, who was fired in 2012 after 15 years with the organization, said on CBS Sports Radio's Damon Amendolara Show that he believes Tebow's NFL days are not over:
Yeah, Tim obviously didn’t play well in the preseason with New England, but he’s a guy (that’s) incredibly passionate about his career, ... I would never bet against Tim. We used to have an expression that Tim’s the type of guy who’s either going to be successful or die trying. His relentlessness and passion – I would think he’ll get another opportunity.
I have to agree with Tannenbaum. Not because I have faith in Tim Tebow's ability to be a starting NFL quarterback, of course, but because there simply aren't many better options on the 2014 free-agent market.
Michael Vick, 33, is probably the best available quarterback this offseason, but it's not like he's miles ahead of Tebow at this stage of their respective careers. Just look at how his numbers this season compare to Tebow's from 2011 (the last regular season in which he played significant minutes at quarterback):
|Player||GP||Comp. %||Yards||TDs||INTs||Rush Yards||Rush TDs||W-L|
Sure, Tebow's completion percentage was absolutely terrible, but overall his numbers are pretty comparable to Vick's—especially when you consider that Vick was playing in Chip Kelly's high-flying system.
Vick is also ridiculously injury-prone (h/t KFFL.com). As Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman wrote in October, "He's beyond brittle and fragile. His body would never hold up for an entire season. It won't hold up for half a season. A quarter. By now, every team knows that Vick's body has betrayed him to the point where it can't be trusted."
Tebow, on the other hand, has never missed an NFL game because of an injury.
When you look beyond the frail Vick, this free agent class of quarterbacks only gets worse.
Tebow isn't the perfect answer to any franchise's QB problems, but is he really a worse option than Josh McCown, Josh Freeman, Shaun Hill, Chad Henne, Tarvaris Jackson or any of the other available quarterbacks? I don't think so.
Of those quarterbacks, Tebow is the only one with a playoff win. In fact, Jackson is the only one off that list to even throw a pass in the postseason (he went 15-for-35 with no touchdowns and one interception in his lone playoff appearance).
Plus, Tebow is still just 26 years old, which is younger than all of the aforementioned QBs except Freeman, who is about eight months younger.
It's safe to say NFL teams don't want Tebow as their starting quarterback or even their second option either. But injuries happen all the time, and if a team is down to its third-string quarterback, it could do a lot worse than Tebow.
Is he ever going to be a good starting quarterback in the NFL? Probably not. But given the lackluster competition in the free agent market, he at least deserves a roster spot somewhere.