The Jaguars continue to be in a holding pattern when it comes to free-agent tight end Tim Tebow.
Over the weekend, coach Urban Meyer said that he and his staff would convene on Sunday to discuss Tebow. Meyer previously has dropped strong hints that Tebow eventually and inevitably will get a spot on the 90-man roster.
So what’s the holdup? It could be that Meyer is having a hard time building the desired consensus in the building. It could be that Meyer realizes (thanks to the Chris Doyle misadventures) that an NFL coach doesn’t have the same degree of autonomy that a college coach has. It could be something as simple as the Jaguars wanting to first trade quarterback Gardner Minshew, so that Tebow can be given No. 15 — and so that thousands of Tebow No. 15 jerseys can then be sold.
Through it all, there continue to be two camps when it comes to Tim Tebow. One camp shrugs at giving Tebow a job that justifiably could go to someone else. One camp touts Tebow’s leadership, work ethic, and drive. One camp thinks the other camp is blinded by the fact that it simply doesn’t like Tebow.
The other camp contends that a football roster represents a zero-sum game, and that by giving Tebow one of 90 positions, someone else more deserving of that opportunity won’t get it. The other camp wonders why, if Tebow’s attributes are so desirable to an NFL roster, the Jaguars have become the only team remotely interested in offering him a roster spot, in years. The other camp thinks the first camp is blinded by the fact that it simply likes Tebow too much.
As it relates to Tebow becoming a tight end, consider these quotes from a former Jets quarterback who witnessed as Tebow tried to make the transformation to a new position before his NFL career flamed out for the first time.
“Everyone’s saying ‘Oh, he’s finally doing what he should’ve done 10 years ago by switching to tight end,” Greg McElroy said last week on SiriusXM ESPNU Radio, via Mark Heim of AL.com. “Y’all, we were with him on the Jets. They tried to switch him to tight end, he wasn’t good. That’s what people don’t acknowledge. Oh, they’ll just use him as a Taysom Hill player. Tim ran a 4.8, Taysom Hill runs a 4.4. I mean, they’re just two totally different players. Tim is a good dude and I hope the best for him, but it’s a sideshow. That’s what it will become training camp time. I think it kind of undercuts, undermines a little bit of what Urban Meyer is trying to build. I’m not saying . . . maybe he makes the team, maybe he doesn’t but it’s going to take away from the task at hand, which is trying to put together the most competitive roster in camp.”
Despite the rampant turnover on the Jacksonville roster, the new Jaguars players may not warm up to the idea that Tebow is getting a job only because the head coach really likes him.
“As a player that went through training camp with Tim, there’s going to be players rolling their eyes at how much attention the fourth or fifth string tight end gets,” McElroy said. “It’s going to piss people off. As a result, it’s going to affect locker room chemistry, like it did with us with the Jets. Not because there’s animosity towards Tim, but there’s animosity toward the coverage Tim receives. I think it’s a stupid move.”
It’s easy to say, “Well, it’s just a spot on the 90-man roster.” Again, that’s a roster spot that could go to someone else. And while the NFL routinely takes chances with, for example, former basketball players and others who may seem unconventional, there’s an endgame in those experiments premised on potentially developing a very good pro football player. With Tebow, we’ve known for years what he is, what he isn’t, and what he never will be.
Also, Meyer likely won’t hire Tebow to simply fire him later. If Tebow joins the team, I predict he’ll at worst be on the practice squad and be called up on game days, thanks to the rule that allows two guys to be elevated each and every week. And if between now and September it just doesn’t work out, Meyer won’t unceremoniously dump Tebow. Tebow will retire (again) with his head held high.
He never will be a good tight end, and at age 34 (as of August 14) it’s ridiculously too late to try to uncover some hidden tight-end skills and abilities. For proof, look at his one snap as a tight end, from nine years ago. While the pigskin careening off the receiver’s helmet may count as a catch in electric football, that one play confirms that Tebow isn’t some diamond in the rough but a rough prospect whose name continues generate enough revenue to purchase a whole lot of diamonds.