Jacksonville Jaguars general manager has been a middle of the road general manager through four seasons. Could he end up as the odd man out in 2018?
When Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan brought in Tom Coughlin to be the executive vice president of football operations, it was possible that he would completely clean house. Instead, Coughlin has matching three-year contracts with head coach Doug Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell.
While that is a nice show of solidarity among the group as a brain trust that can guide the franchise cohesively for the next three seasons, it’s hard not to wonder what happens if things don’t improve immediately. After four seasons at the helm, Caldwell has not managed to improve the Jaguars as a team. Some of the talent is an improvement over the mismanagement of the Gene Smith era, but that is hardly an accomplishment.
"Dave Caldwell missed on his entire first draft class.Dave Caldwell missed on his first coach.Dave Caldwell drafted a QB with the third overall pick in 2014 that has in three years thrown 51 Interceptions and fumbled the ball 29 times.Every player from Dave Caldwell’s 2014 free agent class is no longer with the Jaguars.All but one player from Dave Caldwell’s 2015 free agent class are no longer with the Jaguars.The Jaguars record since Dave Caldwell was hired to be their General Manager is 15-50."
The evidence is damning, but the Jaguars opted to pin most of it on coaching. With Gus Bradley – who Caldwell chose – out the door, it is entirely possible that the Jaguars rebound. If that isn’t the case, however, Caldwell is the logical scapegoat among the three-headed front office.
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While de Lugo ties Caldwell’s fate to that of 2014 and 2015 first-rounders Blake Bortles and Dante Fowler Jr., it may be more tied to an overall improvement for the team. Bortles has an out-sized impact on the improvement of the Jaguars, but he hardly the only measurement by which Caldwell can be judged. A roster that is only partially competitive simply won’t cut it, even if the quarterback turns out to have been the right selection.
Assuming the Jaguars don’t make progress toward .500 or better, look to see if Caldwell starts to be thrown under the bus. Coughlin has no loyalty to the general manager has only worked with him through one draft. The buck stops with Coughlin who was brought to Jacksonville to hold people accountable. Accountability starts at the top and Caldwell’s talent acquisition has not been overwhelmingly positive. There are positive moments to be sure, but those may not be enough to save him following another substandard season.