ESPN One year after bringing Tim Tebow to Broadway, creating a nationwide fascination that slowly evolved into controversy, the New York Jets on Monday made the long-anticipated move of releasing one of the NFL’s most popular players. The Jets confirmed the release in a three-paragraph news release, a long way from his Super Bowl-sized news conference last March. “We have a great deal of respect for Tim Tebow,” coach Rex Ryan said. “Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we all had hoped. Tim is an extremely hard worker, evident by the shape he came back in this offseason. We wish him the best moving forward.” Ryan and general manager John Idzik informed Tebow early Monday morning in a face-to-face meeting at the team’s facility before he was expected to work out with teammates, a source said. Tebow left the building shortly thereafter. Tebow was dressed in his workout clothes Monday when he was called to Idzik’s office, according to league sources. So ends one of the strangest chapters in team history — maybe in league history. Tebow received rock-star media coverage from the moment he arrived. His introductory news conference last March drew more than 200 media members, highly unusual for a backup quarterback. The Jets were criticized for the excess. After using a second-round pick on Geno Smith this past weekend, the Jets had six quarterbacks on the roster, and someone had to go. The Jets tried for months to trade Tebow, sources said. His release was earlier reported by the New York Post.
The New York Jets never really gave Tim Tebow a chance to show what he can do, and now the big question for Tebow will be if another NFL team will give him a shot. Tebow cannot throw a ball downfield and does not make it look pretty, but he somehow finds a way to win football games, which is the most important trait a player can have. He arrived in a toxic situation with the Jets last season, and saw only rare action as a wildcat quarterback behind starter Mark Sanchez and backup Greg McElroy once Sanchez was injured, and did not get the opportunity to get to lead the inept Jets offense. Will an NFL team give Tebow the chance to actually lead an offense, do “Tebow things” and see if he can recapture some of the magic that he flashed in Denver? Time will tell, and I have to think that another team, maybe his hometown Jacksonville Jaguars will give him a chance. If not, the next stop for Tebow could be the Canadian Football League.
For the Jets, it seems they will be stuck with Mark Sanchez under center for another year, and if they could dump him they would. They cannot simply release Sanchez, they would be on the hook for $8.25 million dollars of guarantees money this coming season, and it would be tough to justify paying a player who is not on the roster that kind of money. It is clear the future of the Jets now lies in the hands of second round pick Geno Smith, how long will they wait to insert Smith as the starter, and make this official? Mark Sanchez is a lame duck, and for the most part, lame ducks in the NFL tend to struggle.