Even with the national spotlight being shined on the Jacksonville Jaguars all offseason due to the hiring of former National Championship-winning head coach Urban Meyer and No. 1 overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence, there are still quite a few storylines to follow in Jacksonville that don't involve the team's new leads on and off the field.
And the most intriguing of those storylines just may involve someone who isn't even currently in the NFL.
Rumors have flown for weeks about the Jaguars vetting the possibility of signing former Heishman Trophy winner and Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow to play tight end, with the team confirming during draft week that the 33-year-old former first-rounder had indeed worked out for the team at tight end.
These flames have only been stoked in recent weeks, with another twist coming Monday via NBC Sports' Peter King in his Football Morning in America series. As King explains, the possibility of the Jaguars signing Tebow is still very real, but the team still wants to see how much of a need tight end truly is.
"How does this sound: “33-year-old first-year tight end Tim Tebow?” I hear the Jags signing Tebow and giving him a shot to be a backup tight end could happen," King wrote Monday.
"I hear the Jaguars will wait till after this weekend’s rookie mini-camp to assess their roster and maybe see how much they think they can get in the overall blocking/receiving from fifth-round tight end Luke Farrell of Ohio State."
Tebow was a first-round selection (No. 25 overall) for the Broncos in 2010. Before then, he was a star collegiate quarterback who set records, won championships, and notched countless awards during his years under former Gators head coach Urban Meyer.
Tebow last appeared in a regular season NFL game on Dec. 30, 2012, a game in which he played one offensive snap for the New York Jets. He played two years for the Broncos, appearing in 23 games and starting 14. He appeared in 12 games with the Jets and started two. He also had short stints with the Eagles and Patriots but never made the regular season roster with either.
Tebow spent five years in the Mets' minor league program before announcing his retirement on February 17, a month after Meyer had taken the Jaguars' head coaching position.
The only tight ends on Jacksonville's roster currently are Chris Manhertz (12 career catches), James O'Shaughnessy (88 career catches), Tyler Davis (zero career catches), and Ben Ellefson (one career catch), along with fifth-round rookie selection Luke Farrell. As a result, it is hard to say the Jaguars don't have a major need at tight end.
“Concerned. There’s some great quality, quantity wasn’t there in the draft this year, and that’s a concern right now," Meyer said about the team's tight end unit following this month's NFL Draft.
"That’s a concern right now. That’s the one area that I feel like — we felt the same about defensive tackle — we just didn’t quite hit that and then we got Jay [Tufele], when we picked him, the tight end position — you’re staring at that board and that horizontal piece. We just didn’t hit that today.”
When this glaring need combines with Meyer's long-time relationship with Tebow, it isn't hard to see why Meyer and the Jaguars may see Tebow as a fit even though he has never played the position.
Would Tebow actually help the Jaguars and their woes at the tight end position, or would he merely be an example of Meyer throwing a bone to one of his favorite former players? That will only be decided by the future, but Meyer made it clear following the draft that if Tebow joins the team, it will be for one reason.
"I have one job and that is to win games with the Jacksonville Jaguars. If Tim Tebow or Travis Etienne can help us win, then that’s my job to get them ready to go play," Meyer said. "That decision is certainly not made yet.”
“Tim and I’ve talked about, when he was a quarterback in the NFL that was a big topic. I was so busy I didn’t give him the time. ‘What do you think? What do you think?’ and I didn’t know, I was too busy to even think it through. I know playing a position in the National Football League without — that’s a long shot, this is years ago," Meyer said on May 1.
"How did it happen this time? We had a conversation. He worked out with our tight ends coach, I stopped by, did not stay for the whole workout. Then our focus went to the NFL Draft. We’re going to revisit here in the near future. That’s how that all happened.”