... do we go after him?
At the end of the day, I care most about winning Super Bowls, and I imagine most Broncos fans feel this way. While TT impressed me vs. the Steelers last Sunday, I still think it's an open question as to whether or not he'll ever be able to put together the consistent performances that are necessary to win Super Bowls. However, I don't think we should dump him for a random FA quarterback (like Matt Flynn or Brian Hoyer as I've seen here). Nor do I think we should draft a QB to potentially replace him, as the team has other needs that are more important (although I did advocate several months ago, before RG3 went Heisman, drafting him and putting him and Tebow on the field at the same time. I still think this would work great but for the fact the RG3 has now become a top 5 pick and we are far outside the top 5.)
Therefore, the only potential replacement that would make any sense is Manning. If he's healthy and the Colts release him (which I do think will happen at the end of the day, despite anything Irsay is saying to the contrary) he is unarguably a better thrower than Tebow ever will be, and very arguably a better football player. He's also the only potentially available quarterback who could come in and not face a revolt from the fans. He has many of the same attributes as Tebow in terms of popularity, being a good teammate, being a good person, such that Broncos fans should be largely willing to accept him (although Tebow fans who are not Broncos fans will move on with Tebow.)Of course, in this idea I'm assuming the following:
1) The Broncos don't win the Super Bowl this year. If they do, hurray! I was wrong and I'm happy about it and Tim Tebow for life!
2) Manning is verifiably healthy. This is a big if, but I'm assuming a healthy Manning. If there's no evidence he can play, and play at a level at least near where he was before the surgeries, then obviously this is a dumb idea, and the Broncos would never consider it. So please assume a healthy Manning in your votes/comments. I understand it isn't a guarantee.
Of course, the other important component in such a change would be what we can get for Tebow. I've been impressed enough by him to think he actually has real trade value. (I also think they'd need to trade him first and the sign Manning, because a) he'll have less trade value once Manning is on board, and b) Manning isn't going to sign in Denver if Tebow is still here. Might as well stay in Indy and have Andrew Luck breathing down his neck.)
So what can the Broncos get? To me, the most natural partner is Jacksonville. They have a team similar to Denver, in that they have a strong running game and a decent defense. Furthermore, they have the worst attendance in the league, and would instantly sell out all of their games with Tebow returning home. Lastly, they have a new owner who will have incentive to reinvigorate the franchise, and Tebow would certainly do just that for them. They have a lot to gain financially from Tebow, and should trade more than merely football value to acquire him. I think we could reasonably get Blaine Gabbert, and 2012 and 2013 second rounders. Maybe we could get a 2013 1st rounder instead of a 2nd rounder, and maybe if we're very lucky we could get their 2012 first rounder instead of their 2012 second rounder. Gabbert was not good this year, but he turned 22 in October (compared to Andy Dalton who was 24), has a cheap contract thanks to the new rookie scale, and could improve a ton and become the new QB of the future if he sat behind Peyton for two years.
The Jacksonville trade above was just an example. I do think we should get something near the equivalent of a first round pick and at least one other, considering trades like the Cutler trade and the Kolb trade, where the team was trading a QB that demanded out, and they got at least that much.
So what do you think? Vote in the poll! And regardless of all this, Go Broncos, Go Tebow, and let's beat the Pats this week! I live in Boston and can't wait to gloat!