By Jesse Reed
Tim Tebow isn’t an easy project to take on, but the New Orleans Saints are one of a few teams that have the stability to gamble on the controversial quarterback.
Tebow has been excoriated in the media for the past year for what most people believe is an inability to play the quarterback position with a modicum of skill—not to mention the fact that his addition to the New York Jets’ roster was an utter disaster.
He doesn’t practice well, struggles to compete passes in games that many high school quarterbacks could make with their eyes closed and has gotten slower as a runner, thanks to the extra weight that the Jets asked him to add last summer.
Yet Tebow’s on-field success cannot be denied, both as a college player and as a pro, and he has an uncanny way of rising above his obvious deficiencies to spur his team to victory in the most unconventional ways.
Tebow isn’t going to cost much to add to a team’s roster this season, either.
The Jets would love to find a trade partner, but the market for Tebow is about as dry as it’s ever been. New York will surely be forced to release him, opening up the door for a team to land him as a free agent for a minimal financial commitment.
So which teams can afford to take a gamble on Tebow in 2013?
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees is one of the most entrenched starting quarterbacks in the NFL, and he won’t be threatened by Tebow in the least.
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images His backup, Chase Daniels, is a free agent, and even if he is re-signed, he’s not a player that will inspire much confidence should Brees go down with an injury.
Sean Payton is a brilliant offensive coach with the ability to tailor an offense to the players he has to work with. He’s also one of the few coaches who could potentially work with Tebow to correct his flaws as a passer.
The Saints also feature a nice group of running backs and a solid offensive line, and if Tebow were to be called into action, the team has the playmakers in the receiving corps to capitalize on the deep ball—the one thing Tebow does well as a passer.
Ben Roethlisberger, like Brees, isn’t going to be threatened by Tebow.
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images But there’s no doubt the Steelers need to bring in a backup this season. Charlie Batch is way too old to be a reliable player in the NFL anymore, and Byron Leftwich isn’t getting any younger, or any better.
Tebow would benefit greatly from working behind Roethlisberger, who is among the best in the NFL at playing the quarterback position efficiently. Pittsburgh would be able to let him develop into a pocket passer without any pressure, as Roethlisberger still has years left to play.
Mike Tomlin runs a tight ship, and Pittsburgh’s locker room is as solid as any team’s in the league. Adding a polarizing player like Tebow wouldn’t be much of a risk, but if he ever blossomed into a competent pocket passer, he’d be a tremendous addition.
New England Patriots
Jim Rogash/Getty Images What better landing spot for Tebow than with the coach who drafted him to begin with?
Josh McDaniels is the man responsible for making Tebow a first-round pick. He was so high on Tebow’s pro potential that he convinced the Denver Broncos’ brass to spend a late first-round pick on him a few years ago, and now he’s the offensive coordinator for Bill Belichick’s Patriots.
Best landing spot for Tebow?
Other (please explain in comments section below) 29.9%
Total votes: 887
Like the Saints and Steelers, New England features one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks. Tom Brady won’t be bothered if the team brings in Tebow as a project, and his technical prowess as a passer would be a tremendous model for Tebow to study.
If any team seems like a logical fit for Tebow these days, it’s the Patriots.