(RNN) – Peyton Manning will presumably take the helm as quarterback for the Denver Broncos next season. That leaves the enigmatic Tim Tebow without a starting job.
ESPN reported Denver would try to trade him when a deal with Manning was finalized. Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, took over as the starter for a team with a 1-4 record last season and led them to a division title and playoff victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Despite the success, he has been criticized for his accuracy and his reliance on running the ball when pressured. Many remain doubtful he will be able to continue winning consistently in the NFL without further development.
Still, Tebow could be an intriguing addition to several teams around the league and is a high-profile player that could energize a fan base. Here are some of the more likely candidates for his services:
Tebow went to high school in the Jacksonville, FL, area and won two national championships with the University of Florida. He could be the catalyst that turns around the struggling franchise if he found success there.
The new Jaguars owner, Shad Khan, said he would have drafted Tebow given the chance. NFL.com reported Tebow told friends he would like to "land somewhere in Florida."
The good: With new head coach Mike Mularkey coming in, Tebow would not have to worry about conforming to an offense already in place. He would have one of the best running backs in the league behind him in Maurice Jones-Drew.
The bad: The Jags are not a very good team overall and have one of the worst lineups of wide receivers in the league. They spent last year's first-round pick on quarterback Blaine Gabbert, and although he has not shown them much, they may not want to give up on him after only one season.
There are similar arguments for Miami; there would be a new coaching staff coming in and he would bring notoriety to a team in his home state.
Attendance has not been the problem for the Dolphins that it is for the Jaguars, but winning consistently has proved difficult. And Miami may look to make a big splash after losing out on Manning.
The good: Tebow would have solid running backs in Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas, and Bush is among the better receiving threats out of the backfield. The offensive line is anchored by Jake Long, one of the best in the league.
The bad: Not a very good receiving corps in South Beach either, since the Dolphins traded Brandon Marshall to Chicago. Miami recently signed David Garrard to challenge for the starting QB job, although he is hardly an elite talent.
This situation is more unlikely than the previous two, although it could be the best immediate fit for Tebow's style of play.
The 49ers made it to the NFC Championship last year with Alex Smith behind center, but Smith is a free agent and has been talking to other teams. With a strong defense, San Fran had success passing less than other teams, running the ball more and managing the clock.
The good: Tebow could give the team another running threat in their ball control-style offense. He does not turn the ball over often either, a major factor for a team that leans on its defense. If Smith goes somewhere else, Tebow could start and win immediately.
The bad: Head coach (and former QB) Jim Harbaugh probably wants to run a more dynamic offensive system and was only working with what he had last season. If Smith does re-sign, and it is looking like he will, he would have the starting gig.
This would be a great long-term option for Tebow. He could work alongside one of the best and hardest-working quarterbacks, Tom Brady, and coaches, Bill Belichick, while he learns to be a more consistent passer.
Urban Meyer (Tebow's coach at Florida) is a coaching disciple of Belichick. While Brady is without a doubt the Patriots' No. 1 signal-caller, at age 34 he could be on the downslope of his NFL career.
The good: He could learn from Brady, a guy who went from sixth round pick to three-time Super Bowl champion by improving his game. Tebow would add a change-of-pace element to the New England offense, and Belichick loves players who can contribute in multiple ways.
The bad: Quarterbacks are extending the prime of their career longer, so Brady may be five-plus years away from giving up his spot. The Patriots already have a solid backup in Brian Hoyer, so Tebow's chances of getting on the field a lot are minimal.
ESPN reporter Adam Schefter mentioned the Packers as a possible suitor, and he usually has a good feel for the pulse of the league. However, this would be a near-permanent backup role for Tebow, as Aaron Rodgers is locked in at signal-caller for many years to come.
The good: On the small chance he does start at quarterback, he would have a fantastic team around him and maybe the best receiver corps in the league. He could win a Super Bowl ring without much effort.
The bad: Barring injury, the job belongs to the 28-year-old Rodgers. Green Bay is extremely cold, and the heaters on the sideline can only do so much.
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