Just a few years after Jacksonville supporters failed to see their team scoop up their hometown star, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, in the 2010 NFL Draft, No. 15 may be headed south.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that it’s “a virtual certainty” that Tebow will go to the Jaguars after this season.
Tebow is expected to ask to be released after the season, and the Jets will likely honor that request, Mortensen reports.
The Jaguars were among the teams said to be interested in Tebow, then the Broncos quarterback, after last season, when Denver signed Peyton Manning and needed a new home for Tebow. But the New York Jets suddenly ended up in the picture, trading for Tebow and dashing the hopes of pro-Tebow Jaguars fans yet again.
Tebow was given the choice of going to either the Jets or the Jaguars, but he was reticent to join Jacksonville because the team had committed to Blaine Gabbert, the Jaguars’ 2011 first-round pick, Mortensen says. Tebow was also given assurances by Jets head coach Rex Ryan that he would be involved in New York. The Jaguars have since moved on from Gabbert, though, and there’s a “high likelihood” that Tebow could be in the mix for the starting job in Jacksonville, according to team sources.
Tebow’s time in New York has been rocky at best, with the Jets failing to make Tebow useful outside of occasional wildcat sets. Tebow has said he wants a chance as a traditional quarterback, and he faced another setback this week when the Jets benched quarterback Mark Sanchez but went to third-stringer Greg McElroy rather than Tebow for the starting job. Tebow was said to be ready to ask for a trade after the decision.
The Jaguars (2-12) have had a rough season of their own, and bringing in Tebow, who still has a lot of work to do in his development as a quarterback, wouldn’t necessarily help turn the team around. But Tebow has a lot of fans in the Jacksonville area, and the boost he would bring to the organization has long been considered enough to buy time to get the team winning again.