Jonathan Jones: Tebow has '50/50' chance of making Jaguars


It appears that Tim Tebow will once again have the opportunity to play for head coach Urban Meyer in his home state of Florida. But this time, he won't be suiting up as a quarterback.

According to multiple reports, the Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to sign Tebow, 33, to a one-year deal to play tight end, a position he never played at the collegiate or professional level. Once the move is made official, he'll be united with Meyer, who helped Tebow win two national championships and a Heisman Trophy with the Florida Gators during the late 2000s.

Since 2015 -- the year he last appeared in the NFL -- Tebow has spent time as a broadcaster for the SEC Network and professional baseball player in the New York Mets' farm system. So, what is Jacksonville's plan for Tebow, and what are the chances that he actually makes the team's 53-man roster?

"I don't know that he'll make the 53-man roster, but I think -- and someone there even said to me -- it's about 50/50," CBS Sports senior reporter Jonathan Jones told The Zach Gelb Show on Monday. "If you add on the 16-or-so-man practice squad, I can see Tim Tebow making the practice squad. And it's so much less about his football ability. We talk about football being a meritocracy, and between the white lines, it is. But we know that's also not entirely true. We certainly know it in management and coaching positions, but we know it's not always true on the football field either.

"When it comes to Tebow, very clearly Urban Meyer wants him in there for his mentorship, and what he's going to bring to the locker room. And whatever a 'Jaguar football player' is, he believes that Tim Tebow embodies that. Now, he's 33 years old. They need a pass-catching tight end. He's never been a pass-catching end, and he hasn't been on a team in nine years. But, we laughed at him when he was with the Broncos [in 2011], he went out and won a playoff game. And we laughed at him when he went to baseball. Played pretty well in Double-A ball, made it up to Triple-A ball. Was some of that obviously based on merit and some of it based on his name? Sure.

"And that's got to be something similar here in Jacksonville. Is he going to be the next Travis Kelce? He absolutely is not. But if he can be some decent fraction of a Travis Kelce, while also bringing whatever Urban Meyer believes he needs into the locker room -- because Urban's making the final decision -- that's why I think there's a 50/50 or even 51-percent chance that Tebow makes this roster. Because the guy making the decision very clearly wants him on this team."

Tebow, who was a former first-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2010, complied an 8-6 record as the team's starting quarterback, and appeared in two playoff games during the 2011 season. In 2012, he signed a deal with the New York Jets and attempted only eight passes, and before leaving the league, he spent offseasons with the New England Patriots (2013) and Philadelphia Eagles (2015).

Meyer will, in all likelihood, task Tebow with mentoring rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft. Although Tebow's reunion with Meyer looks like a gimmick on the surface, Jones doesn't really view it as one.

"It's hard for me to believe that Urban and [general manager] Trent Baalke are bringing him in order to sell out whatever remaining lower-bowl season tickets are left there," Jones said. "Would it be great for the team to sell some more jerseys? Yeah. But the ticket prices are already locked in, and they are in the bottom quartile in the NFL in terms of how much their season tickets cost in the first place. So, it'd be nice and great, but it's hard for me to see Urban doing this as anything more than what he thinks is best for the football team."

In 35 total NFL games, Tebow has completed 173 of 361 pass attempts for 2,422 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He's also rushed for 989 yards on 197 attempts and scored 12 times.

The entire NFL conversation between Jones and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow The Zach Gelb Show on Twitter @ZachGelb and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.