Much speculation has surrounded where current New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow will go. It is widely believed that the Jets will release him soon, and momentum has developed behind the idea that Tebow’s next stop will be Jacksonville. He went to high school in nearby Ponte Vedra Beach, and the quarterback position is one spot where the Jaguars need the most help.
Newly hired Jaguars general manager David Caldwell doesn’t see it that way at all. At his inaugural news conference, where the firing of head coach Mike Mularkey was announced, Caldwell also dismissed the idea of signing Tebow.
“I can’t imagine a scenario where he would be a Jacksonville Jaguar,” Caldwell stated on Thursday. Caldwell added he wouldn’t be interested in acquiring the 25-year-old left-hander even if he was released.
Of course, it’s well established that nothing compels general managers to tell the truth to the media. There’s also the notion of tampering — Tebow is still technically Jets property — so why would Caldwell come out now and say, “Sure, we’ll welcome him with open arms”? Even if Caldwell thought Tebow is the answer to the team’s prayers, there’s no point in giving away any leverage. The two sides would still have to negotiate a contract, so it would put J-Town in a position of weakness to declare their interest in Tebow as a free agent.
While nothing is stopping Caldwell from making a trade offer to the Jets for Tebow, the trade route is not one that is often utilized to acquire talent in the NFL. Past history indicates that GMs prefer to wait and sign players who hit the free-agent market rather than sacrifice any decent talent from their roster. Besides, it’s not like the Jaguars’ closets are bursting with players they’d willingly ship north to get a player whose value has taken as deep a hit as Tebow’s has.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan refused to use Tebow in almost any situation other than the most obvious third-down plays. For crying out loud, receiver Jeremy Kerley had more passing yards than Tebow (42 to 38).
Caldwell stated that there would be an open competition for the starting quarterback job between two unremarkable candidates already on the roster: Blaine Gabbert (whose 2012 season was cut short by injuries) and Chad Henne, both of whom played 10 games with neither getting a QB rating above 80. This is where Caldwell might regret his words: if one of those two doesn’t emerge as a clear leader at training camp next season, and if Caldwell can’t find a better solution, he might just have to eat crow and give Tebow a look.