Tim Tebow last played in the NFL nine years ago. He’ll likely soon be a member of Jacksonville’s 90-man roster.
Should he be?
Tebow’s baseball career largely was a cash grab by the Mets organization. The Jaguars presumably will be doing the same thing, selling tickets and jerseys and generating interest in a player whose career has always been, with some exceptions, more about hype than reality.
It’s no knock on Tebow for wanting to do it. Surely, however, he’s not one of the best options to play tight end for the Jaguars, given that he’s never player tight end — and given that he last played in 2012. Since then, nine classes of college tight ends have graduated to the NFL.
The willingness of the Jaguars to burn an offseason roster spot, and possibly a regular-season roster spot (or at least a practice-squad placement), on Tebow makes sense. He’s popular. He’s beloved. And football is a business premised on getting people to devote their time and their money to following it.
Tebow is interesting. Whether he’s worthy doesn’t matter. Whether he’ll help the Jaguars actually win football games doesn’t matter, either.
He’ll help the Jaguars make money. He’ll help the Jaguars generate buzz. He’ll help the Jaguars find relevance. And he’ll do all three of those things far more effectively than nearly every other player on the team not named Trevor Lawrence.
It is a gimmick? Yep. Does it matter? Nope. Pro football is, as the league has described it in the past, the ultimate reality show. A Tebow return nearly a decade after he last played in a regular-season game will be as real as it gets for a league that churns through plenty of no-name players every year, but that never was willing to squeeze every last drop out of Tebowmania.