With Tom Coughlin gone, the Jaguars may be looking for a clean slate heading into next season. What exactly is the future of the Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell?
Another season with high expectations has ended with nothing but disappointment and Jaguars fans are growing impatient.
The first move has been made after a slew of bad press regarding the NFLPA finding the Jaguars, and specifically was the firing of executive vice-president of football operations, Tom Coughlin for taking illegal action that included fining players for what seems ridiculous amounts of money and ridiculous reasons.
Marrone has been the one talked about when discussing the direction of this franchise after 2019. Byt what happens to Caldwell and how will that decision affect the Jaguars moving forward?
Caldwell has been the general manager for the Jaguars since 2013 and has only had one season above five wins. The issue here is that Coughlin controlled much of the football operations from 2017 until now. Was Caldwell’s rebuild seemingly hijacked by Coughlin? To really look into what Coughlin was doing, we have to look at the pros and the cons of what Caldwell has done.
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The positive moments
Caldwell took his time initially, which is fine for a team that had as much work as the Jaguars had. He took a Gus Bradey coached team that was lead by Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert and slowly built a very formidable defense. Instead of looking outside the organization when Bradley was fired, they hired Marrone as the interim head coach and continued to build that defense. However, before we could see what a Marrone and Caldwell lead organization could do, Coughlin came in and took over as head of football operations.
The team then went 10-6 in the regular season, coming just a few bad calls away from a Super Bowl appearance. Then it seemed like the floor fell out underneath them.
Caldwell has drafted some very good players, and although he did miss on a few early picks (Blake Bortles, Luke Joeckel) he has made some very good picks as well and found a lot of diamond in the rough players. Yannick Ngakoue has been a stud pass rusher and it seems Josh Allen is going to be a phenomenal player for years to come. Dede Westbrook is a good pick for a fourth-rounder and is a solid second or third option at wide receiver.
Leonard Fournette has been fantastic this season, and looks to be one of the top backs in the NFL. Brandon Linder is one of the better centers in the NFL. However, this team has been keeping players like Allen Robinson, Jalen Ramsey, and Dante Fowler. It is believed Coughlin has a part in those players exiting from Jacksonville.
The negative moments
Of course, a lot of the free-agent misses and bad contacts should be placed on Caldwell. As the general manager, many decisions ultimately came down to him, especially when it came to players signing and re-signing. Contracts like Andrew Norwell‘s massive contract for a below-average guard.
Then there was the Bortles signing with an extension after one good season and a very average year followed by solid playoff success. The straw that might have broken the camel’s back is the albatross of a contract that is the Nick Foles contract. It was a make or break contract that was either going to take this team to Super Bowl level status and consistent playoff success or tank this franchise for the next few seasons. Unfortunately Foles and the team did not perform up to expectations.
Cadwell’s record with the Jaguars is also incredibly poor. One winning season in seven seasons is awful and the fact they aren’t even competitive during those six losing seasons is unacceptable. You really can’t explain it in any other way. This year was supposed to be the year of hope and change, but it really become just another year of struggle and disappointment.
So what is my verdict?
I believe this offseason is truly going to be one of change. That means that Caldwell and Marrone will be relieved of their duties. It is unfortunate that Coughlin has such a strong presence on this team. The Jaguars are going to be deciding if they want yet another rebuild or they feel this team is strong enough to make a playoff run. Personally, I could see them going in either direction but the two draft picks from the Rams definitely will help them either way.