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Jets May Regret Letting Tebow Go

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Tim Tebow of the New England Patriots talks to reporters following minicamp at Gillette Stadium on June 11, 2013 in Foxboro, Mass. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images.
Tim Tebow of the New England Patriots talks to reporters following minicamp at Gillette Stadium on June 11, 2013 in Foxboro, Mass. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images.

The New England Patriots, the Jets’ rival, signed Tim Tebow to a two-year, non-guaranteed contract on Tuesday, which could haunt the Jets in the future.

Last off-season, the Jets traded two draft picks in the 2012 draft — in the fourth and sixth round — to the Denver Broncos for Tebow. Jets head coach Rex Ryan signed off on the trade and he said the league would have to make adjustments when they face Tebow, according to Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com.

The Jets used backup quarterback Tebow primarily as a ‘wildcat’ quarterback, despite his success with the Broncos. The Jets had a disappointing season, despite Ryan’s proclamation of this possibly being the best team in his coaching tenure, as they finished with their worst record since 2007, 6-10.  On April 30, the Jets released Tebow. 

“When you look at it with the advantage of hindsight, obviously it wasn't a good situation for Tim," Ryan said during an appearance on ESPN Radio (via PFT). "It wasn't a good situation for the Jets or anything else. I looked at it like he would have had success and we were going to use him in a multiple of ways. Unfortunately that didn't happen … We really didn't take advantage, in my opinion, of his skill set. That's nobody's fault. Ultimately, it's my fault.”

The Patriots decided to take a gamble on Tebow by signing him to a non-guaranteed contract. The team has a history of signing or trading for players in the Belichick era that other teams did not want. One notable success was signing former Miami Dolphins’ wide receiver Wes Welker, who went on to catch at least 100 passes and 1,000 receiving yards in five of his six seasons with the Patriots (2007-2012). Welker went from being an unknown wide receiver with the Dolphins to arguably a top 10 wide receiver in the NFL. The other notable success was trading for former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Randy Moss, who reached 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in his three seasons with the Patriots (2007-2009). Moss tied Hall of Famer Jerry Rice for the most reception touchdowns in a season with 23 in 2007.

Tebow does have a legitimate chance to join that list. Despite all of the criticism facing Tebow, he has a winning record as a starting quarterback. When Tebow was with the Broncos, he had an 8-6 record as the team’s starting quarterback. In his final season with the team, he led them to a victory (29-23) against the top ranked defense in terms of yardage, Pittsburgh Steelers. The biggest criticism about Tebow is his passing. His career completion percentage is an embarrassing 47.9 percent. Tebow goes to a team with a future hall of famer quarterback in Tom Brady who could give him pointers on how to become a successful passer. On that team is a future hall of fame head coach in Bill Belichick. In 2008, Brady was hurt in the first game of the regular season. Belichick was able to make Matt Cassel who had thrown only 33 passes at the University of Southern California (USC) into a successful quarterback with the team. Tebow has an amazing run game that helped him win football games with the Broncos. He had a running back average when it came to running a football by exceeding more than five yards per rush.

Tebow has a huge hurdle ahead of him just to make the team. Even if he makes the team, he will most likely be the team’s third-string quarterback after Brady and Ryan Mallet. If Tebow can develop a successful passing game, then he has a chance to be Brady’s successor. A Tebow that could have a successful passing and running game is most likely a fairy tale, but it would be the Jets worst nightmare.