As of 4:00 p.m. Monday, quarterback Tim Tebow will no longer be a Jet. Then, the 24-hour clock will start ticking for another team to make a claim for Tebow’s contract via waivers.
It’s highly unlikely that any team will claim Tebow. To do so will mean relieving the Jets of the obligation to pay the Broncos $1.53 million in 2013 salary that was given to Tebow as an advance in 2011.
Instead, look for Tebow to clear waivers. Then, as of 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, he’ll become a free agent.
So where will he land? Here’s a quick look at the possibilities.
Jaguars: Let’s start with the team that won’t be in play. G.M. Dave Caldwell made it clear during his initial press conference that Tebow won’t be a Jaguar. The comments came at a time when ESPN had reported it was a “virtual certainty” that Tebow will play in his hometown of Jacksonville. Caldwell recently explained on PFT Live that he believed it was important to turn the page for the franchise, by slamming the door on lingering story lines like a Tebow homecoming.
Patriots: It’s widely believed that the Jets held on to Tebow in the hopes that they could trade him to a team they wouldn’t have to regularly face. Given the friendship between Pats coach Bill Belichick and former Florida head coach Urban Meyer, some believe that Belichick is the only NFL coach who would be able to persuade Tebow to abandon the quarterback position and embrace a hybrid running back/fullback/tight end role. His ability to line up in various spots would make him a perfect fit for the Pats’ no-huddle attack.
Buccaneers: If Tebow’s hometown team doesn’t want him, how about the next closest team geographically? The Bucs remain lukewarm on Josh Freeman, and new Tampa cornerback Darrelle Revis has raved about Tebow’s leadership qualities. Also, Bucs coach Greg Schiano and Belichick think alike. Tebow would help sell tickets to a stadium where not enough tickets are sold, and he could add plenty of intrigue and relevance to a franchise that previously had plenty of neither.
Bears: In January, a source with direct knowledge of the Tebow dynamics in New York offered a prediction about his future. “Watch the Bears,” the source said. And it makes sense. New Bears coach Marc Trestman helped tutor Tebow before the 2010 draft, and Trestman squatted on Tebow’s CFL rights during Trestman’s time as coach of the Montreal Alouettes.
Dolphins: How can we list the potential destinations for Tebow without considering the place where Tebowmania was born, during that notorious University of Florida reunion game played on the University of Miami’s home field? At the risk of being overly cynical, a public vote on the renovations to Sun Life Stadium is coming up in 15 days. Having Tebow on the roster could help motivate the ultra-casual football fans who adore Tebow to show up and punch the “yes” box on the ballot.
CFL: If Tebow is intent on proving that he can be a quarterback who actually plays in games, his only option may be Canada. Then, like Joe Theismann, Warren Moon, and Jeff Garcia, Tebow could return to the NFL at a later date.