The Philadelphia Eagles are expected to sign Tim Tebow to a one-year contract on Monday, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer.
The early speculation is that Tebow is nothing more than a fourth-string quarterback in a league where many teams carry only two quarterbacks and no team keeps more than three.
In other words, most see Tebow as a longshot to make the Eagles’ 53-man regular season roster.
However, there are several reasons to believe Tebow not only has chance, but a good chance to make the team and resurrect his NFL career.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Eagles wanted to trade third-string quarterback Matt Barkley before signing Tebow but “could not get enough in return.” This suggests that head coach Chip Kelly isn’t tied to Barkley, and views Tebow as a potential third-stringer, rather than just an off-season flyer.
While he would still just be the third-string QB, Tebow offers the type of positional flexibility that would make him more valuable than a typical third-stringer.
One thing that could make Tebow even more valuable is if the NFL changes the extra-point system in a way that increases the frequency of two-point conversions.
The NFL has toyed with the idea of a 43-yard extra-point, a 33-yard extra-point, and moving the two-point conversion to the 1-yard line. The result of any of these changes would almost certainly be more two-point conversion attempts — something at which Tebow, with his running and throwing ability, could excel.
If one of these changes were made, Tebow could suddenly have the added value of being a two-point specialist. Teams already use valuable roster spots on single-use players such as long snappers and kickoff specialists. A two-point specialist could have more value than those players, and Tebow would have the added value of providing depth at the most important position on the field, quarterback.
Meanwhile, an unnamed NFL assistant coach told Peter King of Sports Illustrated that Tebow has a legit shot to make the team.
“Assistant coach in the NFL who knows Kelly but does not work with him says to me, ‘This is not a prayer. There’s a chance here. If there’s one coach in the NFL who could figure a way to use Tebow, it’s Chip. Maybe not every week, but in spots.'”
There is also Kelly’s history with quarterbacks and seeing value when others do not.
At Oregon, Kelly was one of only two coaches to offer Marcus Mariota a scholarship, with the other coming from Memphis. Mariota was a three-star recruit nobody wanted and Kelly turned him into a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who is expected to be one of the first players taken in this year’s NFL Draft.
Four year’s later, Kelly has brought in another duel-threat QB that nobody else wanted. This time, it’s Tebow’s turn to prove everybody else wrong.
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