By HCR Staff | Jan. 15, 2020
When the NFL awarded the city of Jacksonville an NFL franchise, it was fairly shocking. After all, the state of Florida already had two teams, and as a media market, Jacksonville is tiny versus its peers.
Since their founding, the Jaguars have had some good success, but continuous relevancy has been hard to come by, even in their own market. Consequently, the Jaguars have also become London’s de facto NFL team because the organization has signed up for the opportunity to extend their brand to a larger market.
One problem in the struggle for relevancy is the absence of a transcendent player. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey had the physical talent, but for whatever reason, he didn’t want to play there anymore. Running back Leonard Fournette also is a stellar talent, but nationally, still relatively unknown.
In looking at the Jaguars’ recent moves, however, we believe they’re positioning themselves for that transcendent player, and we believe they’re targeting Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence.
Lawrence, like Andrew Luck and John Elway before him, has the talent, results, and experience that NFL teams covet. And he already possesses star power, having played in consecutive College Football National Championship games.
Whether he is successful or not in the long term remains to be seen, but all that matters right now is that he is perceived as a bona fide, next generation star.
He’s exactly what the Jaguars need.
How are the Jaguars positioning? Well, Tom Coughlin was terminated…and his position was not filled by anyone else. Next, head coach Doug Marrone and GM David Caldwell have contracts that extend only through 2021. We haven’t seen any reports of any extensions for either; absent that, letting both go after 2020 would be a liability easily absorbed by ownership.
The Jaguars also came to a “mutual agreement” with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo; the agreement would be that he leaves right now, even though he did a pretty good job under tough circumstances. DeFilippo had to run an offense with a depleted offensive line, no real talent at tight end, and a late round rookie QB in Gardner Minshew–who showed good progress.
Finally, the Jaguars most significant free agent acquisition in 2019 was QB Nick Foles. After the 2020 season, however, the Jaguars will be able to get out from under that contract more easily.
Add it all up, it’s pretty clear Jaguars’ ownership can start the 2021 season with a new general manager, head coach, and star quarterback.
The Jaguars play in a tough AFC South, and they clearly are the fourth team in the division. But by being fourth, they may be well positioned in the 2021 Draft, with Lawrence the key prize.