In a move that can't be too surprising based on performance, the New England Patriots have released quarterback Tim Tebow. ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first with the news on Twitter. Tebow, signed by New England in mid-June, six weeks after he was cut by the New Jets, completed 11 of 30 passes for yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in the 2013 preseason. He had signed a two-year, $1.385 million contract on June 11 with no guaranteed money. The Pats, like all other NFL teams, are required to hit the league-mandated roster maximum of 53 players by 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.
It was thought -- well, perhaps hoped by some -- that Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who selected Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft when he was the Denver Broncos' head coach, could alter his always-dodgy mechanics and make him a functional backup. There was also nebulous talk about trying him at other positions -- perhaps tight end, H-back, or goal-line runner.
But that never happened, at least on the field, and Tebow appeared to regress mechanically this preseason. He was often errant in his throws, and his two passing touchdowns came in the fourth quarter of the preseason finale against the New York Giants. His throwing motion, which had always had several hitches in it, seemed to make more of a delay than ever, he took far too many sacks because he was trying to read defenses, or thinking about running when his first read was open, and he simply appeared outmatched in the rare occasions in which he played against NFL players who will make final cuts themselves.
One interesting dynamic in Tebow's short time with the Patriots is that owner Robert Kraft made it clear than he appreciated Tebow the person, and really hoped it all would work out.
"I'm rooting for him big time," Kraft said this last week, just before the Patriots' annual kickoff gala. "I'm in his corner, but I have the privilege of letting Bill make those decisions. He has a pretty good record doing it ... I think you want to make sure we have the best 53 people to help us win games during the year." And at this point in Tebow's career, it seems to be the problem. As much as some may "root" for Tebow the person, Tebow the player is hard to defend as a part of an NFL roster, because he's all too easy to defend as a quarterback.