Tebowmania may have finally come to an end.
On Monday, the New York Jets announced that they had released polarizing quarterback Tim Tebow after one miserable, experimental year. Tebow now faces a highly uncertain future, with many analysts questioning whether his career is already over after only a brief stint in the pros.
Almost no one thought Tebow would return to New York after last season's disappointing results, and especially so after the Jets drafted West Virginia's Geno Smith on Friday, giving them six quarterbacks in all. In waiting until after the draft to dump Tebow though, the team has made it much less likely he'll find a new home. By now, most teams have shored up their rosters with free agents and draftees. If anything, they're looking to shed players, not sign more.
"Tim Tebow will probably not play another down in the NFL," says ESPN's Ron Jaworski, adding that by his count, teams have already signed 21 rookie quarterbacks this offseason. Tebow's dubious skills only make it less likely he'll find room on any team's depth chart.
Here's more from Jaworski:
There's just really no room for Tim Tebow right now. The skill set that is necessary to play consistently in the NFL is that of a passer. Tim Tebow just doesn't throw the football well enough to be a consistent NFL quarterback. I don't think there's a market for him. [ESPN]
It's not as if the Jets didn't want to unload Tebow earlier. The team reportedly tried to move him via a straight trade early in the offseason, and again during the draft when teams casually flip spare parts for picks. Yet no one bit, and they're even less likely to do so now. Already, teams with murky QB situations are saying they have no interest in adding Tebow to the mix.
However, if Tebow were to switch positions — an option some floated last year while he rode the bench behind Mark Sanchez — he could possibly find a landing place. He's had his only real success running the ball — he attempted just eight passes last year — leading some to speculate that he could find at least a limited role in some team's backfield.
"[I]n the absence of a team willing to give him a starting role, Tebow has never not been willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win," says USA Today's Dan Shanoff, who argues that the Patriots, with their proven willingness to embrace the unconventional, could be a good fit for him.
Yet that route would almost assuredly force Tebow to first take a few steps backward. Converting positions would mean adapting to a different running style, which could prove problematic because "the NFL is not a place for Football 101," as the Los Angeles Times' Chuck Schilken puts it. "Tebow would not only become a polarizing side show, he would become a pet project."
While that may mean Tebow's days in the NFL are through, there's one more option open to him: Canada. Yes, Tebow could theoretically head north to the Canadian Football League, where the CFL's Montreal Alouettes already hold his Canadian contract rights.
Forbes' Patrick Rishe, noting that storied NFL passers Warren Moon and Doug Flutie both did stints across the border, suggests Tebow could chart a similar path.
"[I]f he wants to play quarterback as a starter in professional football, the CFL is likely his best path to least resistance in the short run," Rishe says. "And who knows, with repetition and further seasoning he could perhaps return to the NFL in 2-3 seasons with greater experience and better technique."
But no path is guaranteed. It may be a long time before Tebow finds something worth Tebowing about again.