Tim Tebow's tenure as a free agent will come to an end this week as ESPN's Ed Werder reports the former Heisman Trophy winner will sign with the New England Patriots in time for this week's mini-camp.
The Patriots had one roster spot open, but made room in the quarterback meeting room by placing Mike Kafka on waivers. By signing with the Patriots, Tebow reunites with Josh McDaniels, New England's offensive coordinator who was Tebow's head coach when the Denver Broncos selected him with the No. 25 pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Tebow appeared in nine games, including three starts, for McDaniels, passing for 654 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions while rushing for 227 yards and six touchdowns. McDaniels was fired after the 2010 season and replaced with John Fox, who turned to Tebow to replace an ineffective Kyle Orton as the Broncos opened the 2011 season with a 1-4 record.
With Tebow at quarterback, the Broncos won seven of their final 11 games to win the AFC West and advanced to the divisional playoffs following an overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild-card round. Despite the team success, Tebow completed just 46.5 percent of his pass attempts, prompting the Broncos to pursue and sign future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning to a five-year, $96 million contract on March 21.
Two days later, Tebow was traded to the New York Jets for a pair of draft picks.
Tebow had a forgettable season with the Jets. Not only did he fail to seriously push Mark Sanchez for the starting job, his role on the team was split between back-up quarterback and decoy as a punt protector on special teams. Tebow played just 73 snaps on offense, completing six of eight pass attempts for 39 yards and rushing for 102 yards on 32 attempts. When Jets head coach Rex Ryan chose to bench Sanchez for a game in December, he tabbed 2011 seventh-round pick Greg McElroy to start, a sign that Tebow would not return in 2013.
The Jets released Tebow on April 29, just days after selecting West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith in the second-round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Tebow passed through waivers and remained a street free agent throughout the OTA period. Dave Fleming of ESPN the Magazine wrote that Tebow's camp believed he was done in the NFL, but several NFL reporters were quick to point out that Tebow believed he still had a future in the league. Michael Silver of Y! Sports reported that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick wasn't going to go near the Tebow circus and that the legendary coach "hates" Tebow as a player.
Belichick, who has a close relationship with former Florida head coach Urban Meyer, refuted that report to Field Yates of ESPN Boston and has now proven it with his actions by actually signing Tebow to a contract. With the corresponding release of Kafka, Tebow is now the No. 3 quarterback behind future Hall of Famer Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett, a 2011 third-round pick who sat his entire rookie season before attempting four passes in the 24 snaps that Brady did not play in 2012.