Top 5 Trade Partners For Tebow if Manning Goes to Denver
With the news Friday that Peyton Manning had arrived in Denver to meet with the Broncos, it’s fair to speculate if “Tebowmania” may be over in the Mile High City, though if any available quarterback could be a relevant candidate to put Tebow on the bench it would be Manning despite the uncertainty surrounding his health right now.
It is highly likely the Broncos would choose to keep Tim Tebow knowing that Manning is a short-term answer and Tebow could certainly learn something from one of the best signal callers in NFL history.
But to play devil’s advocate a little, let’s take a closer look at some teams that may be interested in Tebow should he be made available:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Given Tebow’s ties to the state of Florida and the uncertainty surrounding the Jaguars’ franchise right now in terms of where they will call home in the near future, this could be a match made in heaven. Sure the Jaguars have their quarterback of the future in place with Blaine Gabbert, at least in theory, but Tebow would at least fill seats and may well be an upgrade over Gabbert even with his limitations as a passer. New Jacksonville head coach Mike Mularkey may even look forward the opportunity to help develop two young quarterbacks in his first season on the job.
2. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are expected to be among the top suitors for Manning, but in any case will be looking to add a quarterback sometime this offseason. They may not be able trade up in the first round of April’s draft to select Robert Griffin III if they are unable to sign Manning, so Tebow may be a consolation prize. When Tebow made his first start for the Broncos in 2011 against the Dolphins, owner Stephen Ross certainly noticed how full his stadium was and the increased buzz around the game. Tebow represents the type of star power Ross seems to crave, given he has taken on multiple celebrities as minority owners, so the former Florida Gator may take his talents to South Beach if he becomes available.
3. Seattle Seahawks
Seattle is considered a darkhorse to sign Manning by some, but how much the overall situation would appeal to the former Colt is unclear at best. The Seahawks do not have an established veteran under center, with Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst currently in place, so they may become interested in bringing Tebow aboard if they can’t woo Manning. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll will certainly want to take attention away from his rival Jim Harbaugh after the season the San Francisco 49ers had in 2011, and adding Tebow may be the consolation prize he has to settle for if Manning goes to Denver.
4. Buffalo Bills
The Bills have made a long-term commitment to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he has a lot to prove after his production faded late in the season for the second straight year. A more established, or at least more successful, backup quarterback may appeal to the Bills’ brass, and Tebow qualifies as an upgrade over current backup Tyler Thigpen. It is noteworthy that Buffalo head coach Chan Gailey was wide receivers coach and later offensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers when they had Kordell Stewart, who to say the least was not a traditional offensive weapon and earned the nickname “Slash” as he was used as a quarterback, wide receiver and running back. Tebow is himself a unique player, though not quite as multi-talented as Stewart was, and would give Gailey and the Bills’ offensive staff another gadget to play with.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
Quarterback Matt Cassel’s season ending injury (broken hand) in 2011 exposed the Chiefs’ lack of depth at the position, though Kyle Orton did play solidly late in the season after being signed. But Orton is slated to become a free agent, and is unlikely to return. So the Chiefs, who are themselves among Manning’s rumored suitors, need to upgrade their quarterback situation and have suggested they will bring in some competition for Cassel this offseason. They could always turn to April’s draft for a signal caller, and the difference between a rookie and Tebow in terms of how polished they are as passers may not be huge and Tebow may require parting with a draft pick to obtain in a trade. The Chiefs also should know Tebow well, for better and worse, after he started two games against them in 2011. With all of that said, Tebow could serve as good competition for Cassel if the Chiefs want to push him and not necessarily replace him.