How Much Will Tim Tebow Impact the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015?


After hosting him for a workout last month, the Philadelphia Eagles have signed quarterback Tim Tebow to a one-year deal, as first reported by Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer

Tebow, 27, has not played in the NFL since the 2012 season. He signed with Bill Belichick‘s New England Patriots during training camp in 2013 but was cut before the start of the season. Most thought that was the end of Tebow’s short-lived NFL career, but the Eagles have now signed him for what will be his fourth NFL team in six seasons. 

With the Denver Broncos, Tim Tebow never came close to living up to expectations as a first-round pick. But he did turn in one of the most magical seasons in NFL history in 2011.

Taking over for a 1-4 team, Tebow led the Broncos to seven victories in their next eight games, including six in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. Tebowmania captivated the NFL, and it reached its peak when he defeated the No. 1 defense in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in the playoffs. The winning play came on an 80-yard touchdown strike to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime.

But a trade to the New York Jets all but killed Tebow’s career, as he spent time working as a gadget player, notably the punt protector in special teams. He’s now spent the last two seasons working as a college football analyst on ESPN and the SEC Network. 

Tebow has also continued to pursue his dream of returning to the NFL. He’s been working out with former MLB pitcher Tom House, and he’s reportedly improved his throwing significantly, according to Glazer. He better have, in order to have any shot at sticking with the Eagles.

After all, Tebow’s 47.9 completion percentage for his career is easily the lowest by any NFL quarterback over the last decade. He once had a game in which he completed two passes all game (and in typical Tebow fashion, he won the game). Even in his playoff victory, he completed just 10-of-21 passes. Accuracy has easily been the biggest downfall to his NFL career. 

However, it’s also worth noting that Tebow has shown a knack for winning close games in the fourth quarter. In 14 career starts, he’s led seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter. Throw in the playoffs and it’s eight of 16. That’s an insane rate. He also had the NFL’s best QBR in the final five minutes of fourth quarters in 2011.

Now none of this will mean much for the Eagles in 2015 because there’s no chance he’ll be a starter. In fact, don’t be surprised if he doesn’t even make the team. Now the instinct here is that Kelly wouldn’t have brought him in if he didn’t have a plan for him as his third quarterback. The Eagles have been shopping Matt Barkley and haven’t found any takers, so the signing of Tebow tells me that Barkley is all but gone. 

If Tebow does make the team, and it’ll almost certainly be as the third quarterback behind either Marcus Mariota or Sam Bradford, and Mark Sanchez, it’ll be interesting to see what type of packages Kelly has for him.

Tebow, who stands 6’2″ and weighs 240 pounds, would be a great option on two-point conversion attempts, especially if the NFL passes the new rule proposal that suggests plays could be from the 1-yard line.

Tebow, who has averaged 5.0 yards per carry during his career, makes a lot of sense as a Wildcat option, like the Eagles did with Michael Vick in 2009.

He can run with the ball or drop back and throw. He can effectively run the read-option, which he did under offensive coordinator Mike McCoy in 2011. He throws an underrated deep ball. He’s almost never picked off, as he’s tossed just nine interceptions in more than 400 career passes. He might even be able to contribute on special teams, like he did with the New York Jets in 2012.

Oh, and Tebow is one of the most genuine players around. He fits exactly what Kelly is looking for when it comes to culture. He’s the consummate professional and the ultimate teammate. He’ll buy into the system and do whatever is asked of him, whether it’s playing quarterback, running back, punt protector or sitting on the bench holding a clipboard. 

The Eagles have become the most fascinating team in the National Football League, and Chip Kelly is the puppet pulling the strings on everything that happens. The Tebow signing isn’t a publicity stunt. It’s not for attention. It’s not a massive ego move. It has nothing to do with a possible trade for Marcus Mariota. 

Quite simply, the Eagles’ head coach saw an opportunity to improve the team’s third quarterback position, and he added a player whose contract will likely be non-guaranteed. If it works out, great. He’ll add a player who will almost certainly never have to start in a game and can add his impressive running ability on occasional short-yardage situations.

And if it doesn’t work out and Tebow doesn’t make the team, the Eagles are no worse off for giving a former Heisman winner an opportunity when he’s still in the prime of his career.

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