Thoughtful coverage for thinking fans.
While debate has raged over many issues surrounding the Jets this offseason, one area of discussion has been conspicuous by its silence. Tebow. The general assumption that he will be traded at some point during the coming weeks or months seems to have relegated last year’s main attraction at the big top to the status of a country fair hoopla stall. Meanwhile, ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini is desperate to have the world believe that he is in possession of inside knowledge regarding the Jets’ plan to cut all links to Tebow. Yet with the tight curtain of secrecy that has been drawn around Florham Park since GM John Idzik first arrived, is it possible that the cold-shouldered Cimini is simply taking a desperate and random stab in the dark? The evidence would suggest that he may well be.
The first clue that Tebow may be sticking around came from none other than Idzik himself when he said on March 4th: “Tim, as you know, he’s currently on our roster. What we’re doing is we’re trying to increase competition at that position and positions across the board.
“So we’re going to let the competition play out. We’re going to see who we’re able to bring on board and let it play out this offseason and into training camp. So I think that’ll be healthy for all concerned, including Tim.”
The media was quick to interpret these quotes as being the non-committed ramblings of a GM who doesn’t want to show his hand. But were they? On further analysis, is there any good reason as to why Idzik would try to conceal his plans regarding the controversial ex-Gator? Suppose for a moment he had said: “Well, we’re really hoping to move Tim along to another team this summer.” What would have been so bad about that? Obviously that kind of quote would only create a problem if no trade partners could be found with the result that an embarrassed and unwanted Tebow remained on the roster throughout 2013.
So perhaps that is why Idzik didn’t signal his intention to let Tebow go. Maybe he is all too aware of the possibility that Tebow could well be on the Jets roster when the 2013 season kicks off in September.
Another option that has been suggested is that Idzik could be holding back from cutting Tebow loose in the hope that a trade partner may unexpectedly step forward. Then, if nobody expresses an interest, the axe will eventually fall. Again, this argument seems plausible enough on the surface, but when cap issues and personnel considerations are brought into the equation, it suddenly seems very unlikely that, cash-strapped as they may be, the Jets – who will carry at least 3 QBs into the season-opener – would be prepared to cut Tebow just for the sake of saving $1 million. For all his pitfalls, it seems difficult to imagine that Idzik might find a more viable option than Tebow for less than or equal to the amount of money that he is due to earn in 2013. The more sensible approach would be to cough up his pay-check for one more year and let him battle it out to decide his position on the depth-chart.
That scenario would also seem to favor Tebow’s own best interests: Although it seems likely that the embattled Mark Sanchez will start the season under center, it is perfectly reasonable to have doubts as to how long he might remain there. And with banged-up veteran David Garrard as the only other viable starting option, Tebow probably couldn’t be better placed to bide his time and wait for an opening. If it comes, great – he finally has the opportunity that he and his legion of fans have been hoping for – either way, another important factor comes into play: Tebow and his relationship to the media.
On Friday Tebow had a speaking engagement in Corpus Christi and, as is always the case where he is concerned, media flocked to cover the event. But if the press corps had arrived with the intention of grilling Tebow about his future with the Jets, they were in for a disappointment as they were presented with a 10-point instruction list of what was and was not permissible in covering the event. In the section headed ‘Not Allowed’, point three stated: “Media will not be allowed to ask Mr. Tebow any questions before, during, or after he speaks”. The message may have been subtle, but it was also crystal clear: “You reporters will be tolerated, but you’re not welcome”.
That sentiment seems to echo the entire approach to the media that has been adopted by the Jets since Idzik’s arrival, and it begs the question of whether or not Tebow may have been told that if he plans on having any kind of future with the Jets, he needs to quell the furore of media interest and do so quickly. This is a critical area of concern that Tebow simply must address if he is to have any future in the NFL – regardless of whether or not it is with the New York Jets.
Front office management around the league will have watched with morbid fascination as the Jets’ 2012 season disintegrated around the media circus that accompanied Tebow’s arrival in New Jersey. They will be all too aware of what Tebow can bring to a team, and the reality is that everything good which he offers is negated by the media glare that surrounds him. If you might pardon the pun, Tebow – in his present incarnation – is simply not worth the mayhem that he creates. That could quickly change within the duration of a season, however, and if he wants to prove that he has shaken off his cosy relationship with the media, New York City is arguably the sternest testing ground on the face of planet Earth.
All of this is, of course, just another side to the story that has already been pummeled to death by the likes of Cimini and his colleagues. But it goes to show that sometimes the untold tale has much more credibility than the one which is spread wide and far by established reporters. The truth is that nobody knows what Tebow’s future might hold, but that reality should not distract us from the fact that there is a compelling argument which indicates that it would be in the best interests of all concerned if Tebow were to remain in New York for at least one more year.
Is there still a place for Tebow on the Jets roster, or is it time to move him on and forget about the 2012 debacle. Let us know below.