The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

May 2, 2013

Tebow clears waivers, now a free agent

NEW YORK — Tim Tebow is free to sign with any NFL team that might want him.

The popular but polarizing quarterback cleared waivers Tuesday, a day after being let go by the Jets following an embarrassingly unsuccessful year in New York.

Tebow is now a free agent, but his NFL future is uncertain. It was expected he would clear waivers since a team would have had to pick up the remainder of Tebow's contract, about $1.9 million over the next two seasons.

The Jets must still pay the Broncos, from whom they acquired Tebow in March 2012, $1.53 million as a result of their trade agreement.

It's unclear if any NFL team will give Tebow an opportunity for next season. His inaccurate passing, in addition to the relentless media attention he draws, makes for a tricky mix.

The Omaha Beef, an indoor football team, have offered him to play for them, as have the Orlando Predators of the Arena League. The Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League hold his rights, but general manager Jim Popp said he could come compete for a job — as a backup.

It's quite a fall for Tebow, who led the Broncos to the postseason in 2011, but became expendable when Denver signed Peyton Manning as a free agent. The Jets acquired him for a fourth-round draft pick and $1.5 million in salary, and he was expected to be a vital part of New York's offense. Instead, it was a miserable season for Tebow as the Jets failed to find an effective way to use him, and he didn't impress Rex Ryan and his coaching staff enough in practice to force them to give him more playing time. Tebow was also leapfrogged by third-stringer Greg McElroy when starter Mark Sanchez was benched for a game late in the season.

"We really didn't take advantage, in my opinion, of his skill set," Ryan said on ESPN Radio on Tuesday. "It's nobody's fault. Ultimately, it's my fault."

Tebow attempted eight passes and completed six for 39 yards and rushed 32 times for 102 yards — and stunningly had no touchdowns.

New general manager John Idzik said on ESPN Radio and later during a conference call with Jets season ticket holders that the team never asked Tebow to switch positions from quarterback. Some have suggested that Tebow's best chance at remaining in the NFL would be to become a tight end or fullback.

"While I was here, he was slated as a quarterback," Idzik said.

Tebow's fate with the Jets was sealed when the Jets drafted former West Virginia star Geno Smith in the second round last Friday night, giving them the team six quarterbacks at the time.

Idzik said Smith will compete with Sanchez, McElroy, David Garrard and Matt Simms for the starting job this season.

"There is no guarantee that Mark will be our starter, there's no question," Ryan said on ESPN Radio. "That job's going to have to be earned."

 

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