Three things with which to start off this post. First, a little bit about myself, as I have never written a post, though have been a NN member for some time. I am a born and raised "NorCal-ian", devoted to the Niners from an early age. To put myself into an age bracket, my first Niner's memory is as a young boy crying on my couch after watching Montana's last-ditch attempt to rally for a victory in the 1983 NFC Championship game end up being intercepted. Second, before everyone hits the roof about anything related to Tim Tebow & the Niners, I would encourage you to suspend your pre-conceived notions of Tebow as a player, as hard as that may be (you'll see why in a second). Third, watch the video that recently aired on ESPN. While it is very interesting, I think that it was lost in the midst of the BCS championship and NFL playoffs. I, for one, heard little about it, and haven't seen much (if any) buzz on the internet about it. For those who might not want to invest 7 minutes watching Dilfer and Tebow, the crux of the clip is that Tebow has been working for 5 months with Tom House (who has worked with the likes of Brees, Brady, Flacco and-wait for it-Alex Smith), totally rebuilding his mechanics from the ground up. Over the past several months, he has done "hundreds of thousands of reps" to finally learn proper QB mechanics, something he evidently never received in college or the NFL. So, Dilfer was invited to evaluate Tebow's new look, and to see if he is capable of playing in the NFL now. Dilfer walked away saying that he is.
SO...all of this being said, my proposal is that Harbalke invite Tebow to an evaluative session this off-season, with the idea of signing him as a back-up QB. In thinking through the pros and cons of this idea, here is what I came up with:
- Unarguably, Tebow is a leader, is passionate about the game, is a hard worker, a team player, and one who has gone to great lengths to improve.
- If the ball now, as Dilfer says, comes out of Tebow's hand now looking like not only NFL quarterback, but a "good NFL quarterback," then Tebow needs to be seen afresh. But, many teams have already set their opinions on him, and thus he might not be given the chance-which could very well be a boon for the team that does take that chance. So, why not us as the team to do that?
- The Niners are a team that can take a flyer on Tebow. We are mature team that weathers adversity-both on and off the field-well. This is a team that could handle the media circus that having Tebow would bring (see Smith, Aldon).
- We also have a deep roster, but one that needs to find diamonds in the rough where it can, as we are going to face salary cap issues in a year or two. Tebow is motivated to return, but may very well not have many suitors. If he is a middle-of-the-pack NFL quarterback, as Dilfer says, then signing him as a back-up QB could actually be a steal.
- If Tebow is as good as Dilfer would have us believe, he is an upgrade over Colt McCoy/our next back-up QB. Dilfer didn't think that Tebow currently is a Brees or Brady type QB, who could instantly lead a team to the Super Bowl. But honestly, with our D and run game, we might be one of the few teams (Seattle and Carolina, interestingly enough, are the others that come to mind) that could make it to the Super Bowl without a star QB. Can that be said about McCoy?
- Also, we have a coach and GM that like to think outside of the box (Okoye, Miller and Staley as WR are but a few examples). This move would certainly fit into that vein.
- If Tebow now really is NFL material, he is one of the few QBs around who has a similar skill set to Kaepernick, and this would provide a level of continuity of playing style if Kaep were to get injured.
- "Iron Sharpens iron." This is one of the Niners' mantras, and one that Harbaugh relishes. Having a great competitor to push Kaep would only make him better, in my opinion. I think Kaepernick is mature enough to handle the competition, and by all accounts, he and Tebow are alike in that they are insanely dedicated to their craft and are uber hard-working.
- Finally, (and this is a big, BIG if, I readily acknowledge) IF Tebow is already now looking like a decent NFL quarterback, is it possible that he could still get better? Could he be signed now for a 4 year contract for 2 mil/year, for example, and be developed into a starter? As much as it seems unlikely (or even nearly impossible), could it be that this new-look Tebow could take on the role that Kaepernick had when we had Alex Smith? The next contract with Kaepernick deserves and is likely to get is going to eat up lots of the salary cap, which changes many of the dynamics of how our team will have to be (not to mention the looming contracts of Iupati, Crabtree, and Aldon Smith). It seems to be a relatively cheap contingency plan to either have a very capable backup or in the best case scenario, an inexpensive replacement to Kaep-something Kaepernick himself was up and against Alex Smith.
- Undoubtedly, signing Tebow would be unpopular-many already have their minds made up, and so there would be lots of bewilderment/anger by our fan base.
- It would be a media-circus, on par with (or beyond?) "Hard Knocks." Harbaugh already doesn't like the media, and this certainly wouldn't help.
- Potentially, signing Tebow could backfire if he would split the locker room. That could be disastrous if it were to undermine Kaep's confidence, for example (though it could be easily remedied by cutting Tebow).
Ultimately, I see much more of an upside to at least investigating the possibility of Tebow than not. In many ways, the Niners could be ideal for Tebow-if he truly is as good as Dilfer says he is. Who knows? But I say it is worth a go. What do you think?