The New England Patriots made a splash for perhaps the league's biggest name free agent this Monday, signing quarterback Tim Tebow, according to an ESPN report. It's one of those moves that you never expected the Patriots to make, perhaps because it was the story everyone else said the Patriots would make. But alas, it has happened. A few quick thoughts on the move:
Patriots see him as a quarterback. ESPN's Ed Werder has reported that the Patriots see Tim Tebow as a quarterback going forward. That's important. He was drafted in the first round of the 2009 draft by Patriots' offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as a quarterback. He never got much of a chance to develop that chemistry with Josh McDaniels. Now, he'll get that chance.
Won't shake up the depth chart. Tim Tebow is very unlikely to shake up the depth chart in 2013. If the Patriots truly see him as a quarterback, he's going to be on the 3rd team. Ryan Mallett is firmly planted as the second string quarterback. However, if Tebow can have a strong 2013 season behind the scenes, he could be in play to be the second string guy in 2014, when Mallett enters the final year of his contract and figures to be prime trade bait.
Needs to earn roster spot before making active roster. While the national media will certainly hype up this signing, this move will not be considered a "splash" internally. Tim Tebow is the third string quarterback. Last year, the Patriots kept two quarterbacks on the 53 man roster. Although we may have a better idea of how the team views Tebow from his contract details, it is safe to say that he is far from a guarantee to make the roster. He'll need to prove worthy of a roster spot. If he can do that, then we can begin to talk about a potential role for Tebow on the 46-man active gameday roster.
Don't Expect a side show. We know the hype that comes with Tim Tebow. And we know that the Patriots are more than aware of that hype. And we know that Bill Belichick hates insubstantial hype. So yeah, we can rest assured that there won't be a side show in New England. Tim Tebow will be keeping as low of a profile as possible.