QUESTION: Tim Tebow to the Eagles?
Answer: Why not?
Which is not saying that it will happen, or even that it should happen. But now that Peyton Manning is headed to the Denver Broncos, it makes total sense for the Broncos to make a trade in order to keep the carnival sideshow to a manageable level. And if the Broncos are going to make a trade, well, again:
If, after last season, Tebow is now viewed throughout the NFL as a player around whom a team can build a winner, he is not coming to the Eagles and it isn't worth talking about - not unless the Eagles would be willing to throw Michael Vick over the side, which certainly does not seem likely.
But if Tebow is seen as complimentary piece by NFL teams, as an interesting change of pace and as a credible backup should something happen to a team's starting quarterback, the compensation will be such that a lot of teams likely would be interested in having a conversation.
So why not the Eagles?
Really, why not?
Vick is being paid a lot of money to play the position this year. Coach Andy Reid is presumed to be at a point in his Eagles career that a long, long playoff run next January is an imperative. Reid is married to Vick. The team is married to Vick. The players respect Vick. The pieces have been put in place around Vick and signed into the future, the latest being left guard Evan Mathis. It is Vick's team and it is Vick's year.
Manning would have made some sense instead of Vick - because he is, you know, a Hall of Fame player and all - but that was never going to happen because Manning was never going to play for a team that is a bitter divisional rival of his brother's New York Giants. Tebow does not make sense as a replacement for Vick because he isn't as good, despite everything he did last season.
As with most NFL things, the market would rule - and it would only take one team who believed Tebow to be their salvation, you should excuse the expression. But if the same marketplace instead sees him as a backup player with a unique skill set, and if Vick is going to continue to be an injury-susceptible player with his reckless style of quarterbacking, it becomes an interesting discussion.
Here is one of the first entries, from si.com's Jim Trotter:
This one makes so much sense to me that there's no way it happens. One, Eagles coach Andy Reid is prone to do the unpredictable (see, Michael Vick, 2009; or Vince Young, 2010). Two, Tebow has many of the same qualities as Vick (mobile, lefthanded, strong-armed). Three, switching to Tebow from Vick if Vick were to sustain an injury - he has missed at least three games because of injury in each of his three seasons in Philadelphia - would not require a major adjustment to play-calling or blocking schemes. Again, it makes so much sense that it will never happen.
You don't have to agree with all of it - a guess is that the offense would have to change a lot under Tebow - to see that it is out there. Next is an entirely out-of-context quote taken from a news conference presided over in February 2011 by Eagles president Joe Banner. It is the news conference where Banner kind of hinted that Reid would need to win a championship in order to get a contract extension past the 2013 season.
Anyway, Banner was talking about then-new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, and why he believed the converted offensive-line coach could do the job.
Banner said, "My attitude about this is, I've learned the hard way to never bet against people who always find a way to succeed at whatever they do. The player version for me is a Pete Rose or Tim Tebow - you just watch them in their careers. They just find ways to succeed at what they do."
Again, this is totally out of context. Still, nothing has changed since then - except that Tebow has done just what Banner said he would do, capturing the public imagination in the second half of the 2011 season. And, well, there it is.
The Eagles say they like Mike Kafka as a guy who could be their backup, and they have brought in Trent Edwards to compete for that role. If Edwards can shake off the shell shock of playing behind some terrible offensive lines, especially when he started in Buffalo, he has a chance to be a stable backup who won't lose you games. But he has never done what Tebow did last year in Denver, pulling out victories at the end on guts and guile and passes thrown with a set of mechanics that are not exactly popular.
It is a fascinating question. On the one hand, bringing in Tebow and his fanatical celebrity does put heat on the starter by his very presence - and if the Eagles don't want that, fine. It also puts heat on the coach - and if Reid does not want that, also fine.
But in a league where quarterback injuries are a fact of life, and where the stakes for this regime are high, the risk-reward balancing act is never simple. You have to think the Eagles are at least talking about Tebow among themselves.
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