This week with the potential for the Denver Broncos to lure ex-Colt QB Peyton Manning to Colorado the sports media around the country started making up a story about the possibility that Tim Tebow would be traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars. This story never made any sense to anyone who actually knows anything about the Jaguar team and its management but when did logic ever interfere with a good headline?
The fact is that the same General Manager who passed on Tebow in the draft two years ago is still at the helm for personnel decisions and the owner Shad Khan, while having once said he would have drafted Tebow, has been very upfront about not micromanaging the team on football decisions but relying on his staff to make the right decisions.
This story is fueled by local people in the Jacksonville area who are fans of the college game and who liked Tebow in college and the idea that he might not play in a city 50 miles from where he played college ball and his home town is just unfathomable even though this is rarely the case when a player makes the move to the NFL.
In the first place it is questionable to serious students of football that Tebow would actually be an upgrade for the Jaguars over their first round draft choice of a year ago Blaine Gabbert. The stats from last year with Tebow playing with a team with better receivers and against a softer schedule was not remarkably better than Gabbert who had a horrible year with no real talent at the wideout position and a struggling pass protection scheme. The Broncos caught fire when Tebow became the starter and he had some exciting moments but looked at as a whole his year wasn’t all that grand and it ended ugly losing 4 of the last 5 games and looking pretty bad doing it most of the time.
In the second place few teams are willing to change their offense in the way that Denver did to make Tim Tebow successful at QB and the Jaguars didn’t bring in Mike Mularkey at head coach and Bob Bratowski as offensive coordinator to establish a low pass attempt heavily run oriented offense they had that the year before and couldn’t make it work. The whole point of the restructuring of the coaching staff and the push for better tools at WR was to upgrade the passing game it is hard to argue seriously that Tim Tebow has proved he is the QB for that kind of offense. It remains to be seen that Blaine Gabbert will develop into the talent that he needs to be to compete in the NFL but he has the arm strength and is the style of QB that Mularkey’s offensive style demands while Tebow does not. If the Jaguars were interested in trading for a QB or bringing a replacement it would be more likely a traditional pocket passer and not a running back who throws the ball 10 times per game on an option play.
The only way this ever made sense is if you buy into the idea that A) the Jaguars can’t sell tickets without Tim Tebow and B) the Jaguars are the kind of team that makes football decisions for the short term ticket sales. Neither of those things are demonstrably true. The ticket sales for the Jaguars have been below where they want but not disastrous for the past two seasons and seem to be improving, and the Jaguars have been under Gene Smith a long term kind of team and Shad Khan seems to have a long term view as well.
In the end the only people really floating this idea are people outside Jacksonville or local media outlets who are either bad at reporting or are just looking to make waves with a headline or two without any real substance. The signing of Chad Henne to a two year multi-million dollar contract seems to prove that there wasn’t any interest in waiting around to see if Tebow was going to be available. I doubt that there was ever any serious interest in the Jaguar organization for any such trade.
My message to Tebow fans is to root for him wherever he plays and wish him well and when he is doing well (on and off the field) take pride that he is a Jacksonville, FL Native, but not every player fits into every organization and just because he had success in one city doesn’t mean that another team should change their entire long term plan and give up on their current QB to sign someone just because the people in the city know his name.