It was less than two calendar years ago that the Jacksonville Jaguars were a narrow loss to the New England Patriots from appearing in the Super Bowl.
What has transpired since represents more than anything the failure of a front office that’s way past its prime.
What we know: Jacksonville sits at 4-8 on the season and has won nine of its past 28 games. The team benched high-priced free-agent signing Nick Foles during Sunday’s blowout loss to the Buccaneers and will have him holding the clipboard next week.
This is the dramatic failure of executive vice president Tom Coughlin and general manager David Caldwell coming out in droves. Let us explain.
On a wing and a prayer: Most “experts” rightfully criticized Jacksonville’s front office for handing Foles a four-year, $88 million contract back in March. His body of work didn’t suggest such a lucrative pay day.
The 2019 season: Foles suffered a collarbone injury early in his first game as a member of the Jaguars back in Week 1. It’s been downhill for both sides since.
A part of the larger problem: The Foles’ failure is more indicative of broader issues within what has to be considered a Jaguars front office that’s in shambles.
Other failures: It’s not all about Foles. There’s a culture war going on in Duval with Coughlin leading the charge.
Jacksonville might have found itself a steal in rookie sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew. The quarterback has played tremendous football and is adored by the fan base.
However, the long-term ramifications of the Foles’ signing threatens to derail any hopes of contention moving forward. He’s set to count $22.13 million against the cap in 2020 with that number increasing each of the following two seasons.
The dead cap hits are even more ridiculous over the next two seasons.
That’s one expensive backup. It also leads us to believe that Jacksonville’s current brass will hold on to hope that Foles can be the man under center moving forward. Why admit an $88 million mistake?
This is the biggest issue in Duval, and it’s why a front office shake-up is needed. Simply put, Coughlin and Co. have too much of a built-in relationship with the Jaguars’ under-performing core. New faces and minds must take over in order to help this franchise move forward.
That includes moving on from Coughlin, Caldwell and Marrone. It’s the only way.