Tim Tebow hasn’t played a regular-season down in the NFL since 2012. And when he entered the broadcasting booth, it was looking more and more like he wouldn’t play in the NFL again. But Tebow decided to give it another shot with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015, and it seems like he might actually be able to make the team.
Head coach Chip Kelly has been pleased with Tebow’s preseason so far, which gives hope that the former Heisman Trophy winner can make the 53-man roster when it’s decided in a week and a half.
Assuming he does make the team, Tebow would definitely be the third-string quarterback behind Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez. However, if he did make the Eagles, the 28-year-old would likely play in some short-yardage, goal-line and extra-point situations.
The latter is key because the NFL has moved the extra-point line back so that teams will think more about going for two-point conversions. With Tebow, the Eagles would have a dual-threat quarterback who can run it in from 3 yards out just as easily as he can throw.
Another plus to putting Tebow on the roster is that he can take some pressure off Bradford in certain situations. Bradford has suffered two ACL tears in his career, so if Kelly can get him off the field at times, it would be nice.
So far Tebow has looked decent in his preseason games, completing 6-of-12 passes for 69 yards in his debut and rushing for another 15 yards and a touchdown. And it looks like the year and a half that he spent fine tuning his passing abilities with a quarterback guru have paid off.
However, this certainly isn’t to say that Tebow making the Eagles is any sort of guarantee. The 4-year veteran will have to beat out Matt Barkley for the third and final QB spot. Barkley, who was highly touted at USC, until stumbling to a fourth-round pick in the 2013 Draft, is a pocket passer who played in three games last year. And he’s only 24 years old, meaning he has plenty of time to develop.
But there are trade rumors circulating around Barkley, and he could be shipped to another team if Philadelphia ultimately decides to keep Tebow.
The decision will come down to measuring Barkley’s potential versus Tebow’s unique skill set. Philadelphia already has two pocket passers in Bradford and Sanchez; but if Bradford goes down, Sanchez is not exactly a Pro Bowler. So the hope would be that Barkley could eventually develop into a serviceable number two.
On the other hand, Tebow’s ability to run and throw gives him a dimension that the Eagles don’t currently have under center. Furthermore, with his improved passing ability, perhaps there’s still hope for Tebow to become a legitimate pocket passer who can be used in more than just specific situations.