Denver Broncos  

 

One Man's Opinion: What's next for Tebow and Quinn?

Things were said. Things were taken back. And now we pick up the pieces and see what's next after the biggest feud we saw this week. (Note: This is not about CM Punk and Chris Brown.) Of course, I'm talking about Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn. So how can we make sense of what lies ahead for both in the wake of the God's Quarterback quotes? (That is what GQ stands for, right?)

I play a lot of "Words With Friends." Not to the Alec Baldwin-kicked-off-a-plane level, but enough. Enough to where someone puts a letter in the path of a triple word and my letters are S, O, O, E, M, E, O and I'll take three hours until I finally make a word that hits the TW. But sometimes you just have to throw your hands up and realize you're not getting to the triple word no matter what letters you try to play. This is where Tim Tebow is right now, thanks to Quinn and also Broncos coach John Fox, who announced this week Denver will bring in not one, but TWO new quarterbacks this season. ("Don't worry, Tim, you're still No. 1 ... for now.")

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No matter how you try to arrange the tile rack in Denver, you're never going to hit that triple word of belief that Tim Tebow has the full confidence of the organization. Whether it's the front office, coaching staff or players, folks within the organization will always be looking for someone else, because they're convinced Tebow will eventually fail. Sort of like how the Republican Party is trying to figure out who to nominate for president. (Which would make Tebow Mitt Romney, I guess.) If a quarterback only has the support of half the team, how is he going to lead it to the highest level?

Unfortunately for Tebow, these past few days have been a reality check. He'll always be on borrowed time. He'll always be proving himself. And eventually, when he cools off for six games, he'll be done and Denver will move on. What I don't get, and no one has been able to explain it to me, is how pundits are convinced Tebow won't get any better. He had no offseason last year and did pretty well. With a full complement of mini-camps and OTAs this time around, why is there still no hope for improvement? Every other QB in this situation would get that benefit of the doubt. It makes no sense.

But at least Tebow knows where he's going to play quarterback next season, unlike Quinn, who will try to find a new gig after displaying great leadership skills in the press. ("How did we win? Just lucky, I guess.") Quinn is one of the guys who makes this quarterback free-agent market the most interesting one I've seen in years. Why? Because while some teams will sign or draft their QB of the future, or keep playing their recent first-round pick to see if he blossoms, the unsatisfied teams will have four names on a big sheet of paper the GM's office under the heading "Quarterbacks We Can Start If We Have To And Can Maybe Be Our Future Because We're Not Sold On Our Current One But Someone We Can Keep On The Bench Just As Easily If Our Incumbent Plays Well While We Try To Dispel Any Thought Of A Quarterback Duel At Fifty Paces." Well, maybe the heading's a tad shorter than that.

Those four quarterbacks are Quinn, Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton and Chad Henne. They'll all be available, and they all have the same things in common: They're tweeners. Just not the Twilight young adult fiction tweeners. They've all shown varying degrees of promise, but not enough where they can be handed a first-string gig. These are players who are caught in the purgatory between being a No. 1 and a No. 2. (So ... more Jacob than Edward.) None of them will be given a starting job anymore, so they'll have to settle for the potential opportunity of being one at some point. Quinn will find it the toughest, as he has the least amount of accomplishments under his belt to go along with throwing his former team under the bus. But at least he had that "Muscle Milk" commercial. Who says you never had a billboard, Brady?

So, where will they all wind up? Here are the four most likely squads to sit across from these signal callers and say, "Look, X is our starter, but we're going to play the best guy. You'll get that chance with us."

Denver Broncos: We have to start with them, right? If you're going to bring in two quarterbacks, at least one of them will likely come from this list. Just for fun, I'd like to see them re-sign Orton. Hah! But no, someone like Campbell makes the most sense, considering his familiarity with the division and the fact he's the most mobile of the group. Denver doesn't want to overhaul systems again, so they'll want someone who is at least somewhat similar to Tebow if they have to make a change.

Kansas City Chiefs: Let me just ask, do you think Matt Cassel is the answer? His value fell further than technology stocks in 2011. You have the weapons around him and would have a great safety net with a strong-armed thrower like Henne, or someone like Campbell who knows the AFC West. Either one would be a logical fit.

New York Jets: Rex Ryan said he's going to upgrade the quarterback position overall. They like Greg McElroy, who missed all of last season after getting hurt, but considering new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano's history with Henne and Orton's ability to play in cold weather, one of them will be smiling behind Mark Sanchez's right shoulder. And probably starting by October.

Seattle Seahawks: Call me crazy, but I don't see any way they take Ryan Tannehill in the draft. They'll have to do something to get a successor -- sorry -- possible successor to Tarvaris Jackson, and it ain't Charlie Whitehurst. We know how much Pete Carroll likes players who were great in college but not so great in the pros, so obviously this would be the best landing spot for Quinn.

Jason Smith writes fantasy and other pith for NFL.com daily. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca. He only asks that you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.

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