There is a chance that the Jaguars’ starting QB in 2013 is not currently on the roster. Week One starter Blaine Gabbert, before being placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, was demoted by head coach Mike Mularkey, and our sources expressed significant concerns regarding Gabbert's leadership skills and passion for the game — not to mention his total ineptitude on the field — even prior to his demotion.
The man whom replaced Gabbert, Chad Henne, got out of the gate like gangbusters, but his numbers have since tapered off to, well, Gabbert-like production. Yes, the offense has performed more efficiently with Henne at the controls. No, he has not done enough to instill great confidence within the organization that he can be the long-term solution under center.
Thus, when a report surfaced late last week indicating Jets disgruntled QB Tim Tebow, a hometown kid and iconic figure throughout the state of Florida, was a “virtual certainty” to land with the Jaguars in 2013, it made sense on a number of levels.
Tebow is revered in Jacksonville. The club is unsettled at the QB position. Owner Shad Khan stuck his toe in the water when Tebow was on the trade market prior to the season.
However, after doing a little digging, we hear that categorizing his arrival in Jacksonville after the season as imminent is a major stretch.
Khan’s prior interest in Tebow is understandable, particularly from a business standpoint. He would very likely help a small-market team that has trouble filling its gargantuan stadium do just that. Yet, the Jaguars’ ticket sales have improved this season — and Khan didn’t mandate his football people, mainly embattled GM Gene Smith, to acquire him at all costs last offseason, just to put out feelers.
Smith’s likely on borrowed time in Jacksonville. We hear there is a strong chance he will be dismissed after the season, which likely means a new GM would have to sign off on Tebow, or, potentially steer clear of the job altogether if Tebow is part of the deal.
Similarly, we don’t yet know the future of Mularkey. There is a chance that he could be spared after the season, if a new GM approves.
As one source astutely pointed out, the author of the original report — ESPN's well-connected Chris Mortensen — shares an agent, Jimmy Sexton, with Tebow.
Tebow could very well end up a Jaguar. But as the source notes, "there are only two virtual certainties in life: Death and taxes."