After a 6-10 season that was filled with inner turmoil andof executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin, the future for both Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell was murky at best. With the dust settling on the 2019 season, we now finally have answer as to what the imminent future means for both parties.
On Tuesday, Jaguars owner Shad Khan announced in a statement that both Marrone and Caldwell will be retained for the 2020 season.
“I have met on several occasions over the past few days with Dave Caldwell, Doug Marrone and their staffs to fully understand their plans to reverse our course and compete for a postseason berth in 2020,” Khan said in the statement, while also noting numerous one-on-one meeting with players on Monday. “While our discussions will remain confidential, the decision I am making to keep our staff intact for 2020 has nothing to do with our victory on Sunday and everything to do with my positive meetings with Dave, Doug, the coordinators and our players, as well as my belief that this is not the time to consider an overhaul of our organization.
“The 2019 season was unacceptable and I’ve made my dissatisfaction clear. While many unusual circumstances influenced our season, none can fully explain or defend our second-half collapse with first place in the division within reach on Week 9. At the same time, there were positive developments and contributions that should not be overlooked.”
Khan added that Coughlin’s former executive VP of football ops position will not be filled in 2020. Instead, both Marrone and Caldwell will report to Khan directly in a similar fashion to how they operated since Coughlin’s departure in mid-December.
Now that the masthead in Jacksonville is re-established, it’s time for them to begin building up a contender for the 2020 season and beyond in an attempt to get back to the AFC Championship, a game that were in just a couple years ago.
The first order of business could be under center and deciding who’ll be QB1 in 2020 between Gardner Minshew and Nick Foles. Foles was the 2019 offseason prize for Jacksonville, who inked him to a four year, $88 million contract, but injuries completely derailed his first season with the Jags. That opened the door for rookie Gardner Minshew to emerge and he took over the position with flying colors. In 14 games, Minshew completed 60.6% of his passes for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Strictly looking at how Minshew performed, it would seem logical to keep him in place as the starter given his upside. That said, Jacksonville is in a tough cap space situation that makes Foles almost impossible to move on from. In 2020, Foles has a dead cap hit of just under $34 million that will decreases to $12.5 million in 2021 and $6.25 million in 2022. Not exactly an easy pill to swallow if you’re the Jags.
So while the decision is made that Jacksonville will keep their current decision-makers intact going forward, there are plenty of hurdles they’ll need to jump over to become relevant next season.