Tim Tebow's Young Career Will Be Ruined If He Stays with Jets

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2012

Nov 22, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) sits on the bench during the second half against the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving at Metlife Stadium. Patriots defeated the Jets 49-19.  Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The future may be murkier than ever for Tim Tebow, but one thing is clear: He needs to extradite himself from the New York Jets to save his career.

By no objective means has Tebow's time in the Big Apple been anything less than an unmitigated disaster. Brought in to spring life into the Jets' stagnant offense, the 25-year-old signal-caller has done little more than barrel forward for short gains in feeble Wildcat formations and play punt protection in what oftentimes feels like a laughable emasculation.

On the season, he's completed six of seven passes for 39 yards and gained 87 more on 29 carries. For reference, he gained fewer than 126 total yards just three times last season in 14 appearances.

In fact, Tebow has been so underused at the quarterback position with the Jets that the folks at pro-football-reference.com have his position listed as fullback/tight end for 2012. 

And it's not as if Tebow has gone unused because Rex Ryan's squad is leading the league in offensive efficiency or anything. The 5-7 Jets head into Sunday 29th in the NFL in total offense, averaging a paltry 308.9 yards per game. Mark Sanchez is in the midst of his worst professional season, according to ESPN's Total QBR and on pace to set that mark in Football Outsiders' DVOA rating as well. 

To put it in more frank terms, the Jets coaching staff is telling Tebow they would rather go with one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league and rank better than just three other teams offensively than move him in the lineup. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. 

However, the Jets upper management seems like it is dead-set on keeping Tebow. Jets owner Woody Johnson appeared on CNBC back in October and made it clear that the young quarterback would be in New York for the foreseeable future—three years, to be exact.

"Will we keep Tebow? Absolutely," Johnson said (h/t The Star Ledger's Connor Orr). "He'll be with us for three years, and I think he's going to be a real valuable asset in terms of helping us win games."

If Johnson is a man of his word, sweeping changes will be necessary to make Tebow's time in New York to be salvageable. Rex Ryan and his coaching staff certainly would certainly be out the door, and his replacement would need to be willing to ignore Sanchez's $8.5 million cap hold to start Tebow.

That doesn't seem likely. The best possible move going forward for Tebow would be a move to the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York's opponent in Week 14. 

The Jaguars tried desperately to pull off a trade for Tebow last offseason and reportedly were thinking about making an offer at the deadline this season. A home state hero from his days as the Florida Gators quarterback, Tebow is largely seen as the only individual entity strong enough to keep the struggling Jaguars franchise in Jacksonville.

Obviously, we don't know if that's truly the case. Tebow is still a quarterback who finished 2011 with an embarrassingly low 46.5 completion percentage, and Denver, the team that dumped him, is possibly headed toward a first-round bye in the playoffs. 

The problem is our sample size is so limited with Tebow in New York that evaluators cannot decide whether how he's developed as a quarterback. He may very well be the answer for a team like Jacksonville, whether that's in the box office or on the field. 

Either way, Tebow's future may be staring at him across the field on Sunday, but he should settle for anywhere except New York after this season.