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National Columnist

The Jets could use plenty of help, so why do they have no use for Tim Tebow?

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If the Jets have no use for Tim Tebow -- it's apparent they don't -- why are they keeping him? (US Presswire)  
If the Jets have no use for Tim Tebow -- it's apparent they don't -- why are they keeping him? (US Presswire)  

Tim Tebow isn't playing, and that makes sense. He isn't playing, obviously, because the Jets don't think he can play -- which is fine. Lots of people think Tebow can't play. If the Jets agree, well, that makes them like everyone else.

Except for one thing:

The Jets are the only ones who traded for Tebow. They agreed to give up two draft choices and pay him millions in salary. And then, when confronted with a clause in Tebow's contract in Denver that said they would owe the Broncos millions as well, the Jets paused ... and made the trade anyway. Same terms. Same draft choices. Only, with an extra $2.5 million check to the Broncos.

So let's go back to the first sentence of this story, and fix it:

Tim Tebow isn't playing, and that makes no sense at all.

The Jets paid a heavy price to get Tebow to not use him? Stupid. And they're not using him while Mark Sanchez is having the worst season of any starting quarterback in the NFL. I'm not saying Sanchez is the worst QB in the league because I don't necessarily believe that, and because I'm not qualified to say it. But the worst season? Sure, I'm qualified to say that. And I believe it about Sanchez, who ranks 31st in the league -- there are only 32 teams, you know -- in quarterback rating. And he ranks 34th in the league (there are only 32 teams!) in completion accuracy.

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Sanchez is having a terrible year, the worst of his four-year career. He isn't progressing, he's regressing -- and this is the Jets' fault. They spent stupidly this past offseason, making their biggest splash on Sanchez's backup instead of his offensive weaponry, something Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie noted in March when he tweeted, "[Why] bring Tebow in when we need to bring in more weapons for Mark Sanchez? Let's build the team around him. We already signed [Sanchez] to 3 year ext[ension]."

When Antonio Cromartie is making more sense on Twitter than the general manager or head coach is making in real life, that's a poorly run football team. But get this straight: They're not poorly run because they refuse to play Tebow over Sanchez. They're poorly run because they acquired Tebow with no real plan -- or intention -- to play him.

If Tebow can't beat out a quarterback having the kind of year Sanchez is having, then he wasn't going to beat out Sanchez at all. Which is fine, assuming Tebow was acquired to complement Sanchez as a change-of-pace quarterback. Or as a mystery weapon on kickoff returns. Or as an H-back.

As something. Anything.

Instead, Tebow is nothing. He's not a decoy. Not a gimmick. Not even much of a wildcat for offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who made the wildcat part of the NFL lexicon by making it an integral part of the Dolphins. In 2009 Sparano had Miami running back Ronnie Brown throw six passes in nine games. In 2012 he has had Tebow throw three passes in eight games. In the Jets' 30-9 loss Sunday to the Dolphins, Tebow was on the field for one snap.

Make sense of that? I can't do it. I suspect Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum can't do it either, given his comments when announcing the Tebow deal March 22:

"We have a vision for the player," Tannenbaum said after making the trade, which makes you question his eyesight.

"We have a role for the player," Tannenbaum said, which makes you question his honesty.

Role for the player? The Jets had no role for the player, unless the player's role was to stand on the sideline while the team loses so much that Tannenbaum -- er, the general manager -- finds himself on the verge of being fired.

At this point, that has to be true. Tannenbaum (and Ryan) have to be half a season from being fired, or Jets owner Woody Johnson isn't nearly as meddlesome as we all know he is. As CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora reported last week, Johnson "was instrumental in [acquiring Tebow], a move that has business purposes beyond football."

Earlier this month Johnson was said to be "[pushing] his football people to start Tebow." That was four games ago. In those games the Jets have gone 1-3 and Tebow has completed one pass for 23 yards. That's not why the Jets sent fourth- and sixth-round picks, and $2.53 million, to Denver.

Meanwhile the Tebow thing looks to be in Mark Sanchez's head. Sanchez, who led his team to the AFC title game twice in his first three years, all of a sudden can't play. His quarterback rating on the season (72.8) is just behind Tebow's rating (72.9) last year in Denver. Sanchez has played in eight games this season, and four are stinkers. The calls for Tebow are getting louder. Hell, the owner is said to be calling for Tebow. It gets no louder than that.

Again, I'm not saying Tebow is better than Sanchez. He's probably not. But Sanchez is terrible, the Jets are in a tailspin, and there sits Tim Tebow, costing the team millions of dollars and two draft picks, and he's doing nothing. Just waiting.

The trade deadline is Thursday. So here's an idea, New York Jets: If you're not going to use the guy, how about sending him to a team that would?


Gregg Doyel is a columnist for CBSSports.com. He covered the ACC for the Charlotte Observer, the Marlins for the Miami Herald, and Brooksville (Fla.) Hernando for the Tampa Tribune. He was 4-0 (3 KO's!) as an amateur boxer, and volunteers for the ALS Association. Follow Gregg Doyel on Twitter.
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