Dave Caldwell

Receiver Notes: Landry, Dez, A-Rob, Evans

No players have dominated the news more in the last two days than Jarvis Landry and Richard Sherman. On Friday, the Browns kicked off their trading spree by landing the Dolphins wideout in a deal for draft picks. Earlier in the day, Sherman was released from the Seahawks and then signed with the division-rival 49ers Saturday Night.

The two possibly could have been connected on the transaction wire earlier in the 2017 season if a blockbuster deal would have gone through. That’s according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, who tweets that Seattle rejected a potential Landry-for-Sherman swap in 2017.

At the time of the proposed deal, presumably before the trade deadline, Sherman was healthy and the Seahawks were looking to advance to the postseason for the sixth consecutive. Trading away a key member of the secondary and an influential figure in the locker room doesn’t appear to make much sense.

Regardless, it is interesting both teams were looking to move on from their respective stars as early as October.

Here’s more receivers making news:

  • Before both of those deals went down, Mike Evans grabbed headlines by signing a five-year deal with the Buccaneers worth $82.5 MM. Breaking down the details, CBS Sports’ Joel Corry tweets the Bucs will $5 MM of salary cap space in 2018 and he now takes up $18.25 MM of cap room.
  • During a chat with the Dallas Morning News on Friday, Matt Mosley said his gut feeling is that Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant will be back in 2018. He said that could change if the team lands a receiver in the first round. Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, among others, could be on the board when the Cowboys pick at No. 19.
  • Though they didn’t place the franchise tag on him, the Jaguars do in fact like Allen Robinson and would like to have him back at the right price, general manager Dave Caldwell told Pro Football Talk. “At some point in time, just like other free agents, we’ve walked away. We don’t want to do that with Allen because he’s ours. We’ll see. We have a lot of options on the table with that.”

South Notes: Jags, Colts, Glennon, Falcons

After their most successful season this century, the Jaguars are firmly committed to their power structure. The Tom Coughlin/Dave Caldwell/Doug Marrone triumvirate is now signed through 2021 after the extensions announced Friday, and this season looks to have played a key part in Shad Khan‘s decision. The owner approached his top staffers about these extensions shortly after the Jags’ AFC championship game loss to the Patriots, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports.

For Caldwell, this marks the second two-year extension in as many offseasons. The GM signed one in January 2017 on the same day he was stripped of some of his decision-making abilities, but he’ll continue to work with Coughlin for the foreseeable future. This comes after some in league circles believed Coughlin would attempt to push Caldwell out of the picture, per O’Halloran, if last season did not go well. In particular, Blake Bortles‘ play was key in this scenario, O’Halloran writes. Caldwell had overseen four straight losing seasons since taking over the Jags’ reins in 2013.

Here’s the latest out of the South divisions:

  • The Colts continue to add to Frank Reich‘s first staff. They’ve hired Tom Manning as their tight ends coach, reports Tommy Birch of The Des Moines Register. The former Iowa State offensive coordinator led the Cyclones to two of the best offensive seasons in team history. He previously served as the offensive line coach at Toledo and Mount Union.
  • Regarding Reich’s first offense, Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star notes it’s expected to be a significant change from Rob Chudzinski‘s attack. Reich is expected to install an uptempo setup to help a Colts offense that ranked 31st last season. However, Andrew Luck being at the controls had the Colts at No. 10 offensively in 2016. So, improvement will largely come from Indianapolis’ starter being back in the fold.
  • A Buccaneers/Mike Glennon reunion will likely be on the Tampa Bay brass’ radar, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The Bears are expected to cut Glennon, whom Mitch Trubisky quickly supplanted in Chicago’s starting lineup, and Stroud notes the Bucs will be watching carefully to see if their former backup will wind up in need of a job. Glennon served as Jameis Winston‘s backup in 2015 and ’16, and with a possible suspension for Winston looming because of an alleged groping of an Uber driver, Stroud notes Tampa Bay’s backup could play a key role in the 2018 season. The Bucs were ready to pay Glennon like a top-market backup at $8MM per year, but the Bears’ offer easily won out last March.
  • Sean Weatherspoon has played in just six games for the Falcons the past two seasons and has missed all five of Atlanta’s playoff contests in that span. The 30-year-old linebacker is now a free agent. He would like to return to Atlanta but acknowledged a connection to former Missouri defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, who now has a first-time opportunity as an NFL DC with the Colts. “My college coach, who recruited me to Missouri, is the (defensive) coordinator for the Colts now,” Weatherspoon said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “There are a lot of things, I love Atlanta, but I’m just looking for an opportunity. I’d love to be here. If things work out, this is where I’ll be.” Prior to his injury trouble during his second Falcons stint, the former first-round pick started 40 games with the Falcons from 2010-13. Given where he is in his career, Weatherspoon would likely be available for the veteran minimum.

Ben Levine contributed to this report.

Jaguars Extend Coughlin, Marrone, Caldwell

The Jaguars have locked up executive vice president Tom Coughlin, GM Dave Caldwell, coach Doug Marrone with new two-year extensions, according to a team announcements. The fresh deals will keep all three men in place through the 2021 season. Tom Coughlin (Vertical)

Coughlin, pictured here in his best gardening gear, joined Jacksonville last January. The Jags proceeded to shock the world by going from a 3-13 record in 2016 to 10-6 in 2017 and nearly defeating the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. This year, the Jaguars will look improve on their success and reach their first ever Super Bowl.

The decision to extend the contracts of Tom, Dave, and Doug isn’t so much a reward for last season, which no doubt was impressive, as it is to recognize their important to our football team this coming season and for years to follow,” owner Shad Khan said in a statement. “We’re past celebrating the accomplishments of our division title and playoff run, and now it’s time to take the next step. We need the right leadership firmly in place to make that happen, and it’s good to know that we’ll have that with Tom, Dave, and Doug secure in their roles with the Jacksonville Jaguars.”

Marrone initially joined the Jaguars as their assistant head coach/offensive line coach in 2015 on Gus Bradley‘s staff. Marrone was appointed as the team’s interim head coach when Bradley was canned near the end of the season and had his interim tag removed on the same day that Coughlin was hired. Marrone wasn’t necessarily the sexiest choice after his awkward exit from Buffalo a few years back, but he was clearly the right pick.

Caldwell remains the team’s GM, but Coughlin has final say over the team’s 53-man roster. Coughlin reportedly did not ask for total roster control when he signed on last year, but Khan strongly felt that it was the right move. For his part, Caldwell has been a good sport about the structural change.

I think Dave’s done a great job on talent, but he’s a young guy. I think he can learn lot from Tom. There might be a natural human emotion [from Caldwell] of, ‘Gee …’ but I think if you look at what’s best for the Jaguars, I think this is the structure,” Khan said last winter. “Dave gets to do the talent, and I think he’s worked hard. It’s, ‘How do we get more wins?’

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Marshall, Bennett, Jags, Woods

The Patriots have been linked to multiple impact receivers during Combine week. In addition to including their No. 32 overall pick in a package for Brandin Cooks, mutual interest between the Pats and Brandon Marshall exists, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter). The Jets cut Marshall earlier this week, a move Marshall sought after declining an extension to stay on a rebuilding team. Entering his 12th year and age-33 season, Marshall should generate interest, and the Patriots’ penchant for street free agents that don’t affect the compensatory pick formula makes this a potential situation to monitor. Marshall going 11 seasons without a playoff appearance does as well.

New England has its top four wideouts under contract for 2017, although Danny Amendola‘s $7.7MM cap hit is probably untenable at this point. The Patriots want the veteran back at a reduced rate. Marshall also has a connection to the Patriots, who employ former Broncos HC Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator. However, McDaniels traded Marshall to the Dolphins in 2010 after one season with the then-mercurial wideout. During that ’09 slate, Marshall drew an insubordination suspension during the preseason and saw McDanniels bench him for a game later that year.

Here’s more from the AFC.

  • Martellus Bennett wants to test the market, but the Patriots would like him to return. Their top competition could come from fellow AFCers, with the Raiders and Jaguars interested in the veteran tight end, Volin tweets. Jacksonville just unloaded underwhelming UFA signing Julius Thomas, and the Raiders haven’t seen much from Clive Walford yet. Former starter Mychal Rivera is a free agent. Bennett and Jared Cook reside as the top tight ends on the market.
  • Shad Khan bringing Tom Coughlin back to Jacksonville in a front office role will affect GM Dave Caldwell, but the Jaguars’ former top decision-maker will still have input. Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com compares the rearranged Jags front office to the ones in Miami and Atlanta, with three men dividing up power. “Surprisingly enough, through the whole process and having an idea that this was going to happen, you kind of think, ‘How’s this going to work?’ But Tom has been great,” said Caldwell, who’s entering his fifth season as Jags GM. “It’s been great to be able to walk down the hallway and bounce some things off of him: ‘Hey we’re going to do this; we’re going to do that. What do you think about this? What do you think about that?’ And then we sit together with he, I and Doug [Marrone] and we come together on a collective decision.”
  • Myles Jack is expected to move to middle linebacker next season, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports. If that comes to fruition, Paul Posluszny would slide to strong-side ‘backer. This season represents the final year on Posluszny’s contract. He loomed as a cut candidate, but nothing’s surfaced about a potential release thus far this offseason. The 32-year-old has started for six seasons in Jacksonville. He’s due a $3.95MM base salary and will collected a $500K roster bonus if he remains with the Jags by the fifth day of the 2017 league year.
  • Mentioning DeSean Jackson and Kenny Stills being set to see “huge” contract offers, DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline included Robert Woods in this category. Woods hasn’t produced on the level of Stills or Jackson, with season-best receiving totals of 699 yards and five touchdowns (in 2014). But the former USC talent is still just 24 and hasn’t played with the kind of quarterbacks, from a passing standpoint, with the Bills that most of his UFA receiving peers have. His market could be difficult to determine as a result.
  • The Chiefs added another assistant coach, bringing first-timer Terry Brandon into the fold. He will work as a defensive assistant, Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star reports. Brandon will make quite the jump, moving from graduate assistant at Bethune-Cookman to a job as an NFL staffer.

Shad Khan On Coughlin, Caldwell, HC Search

During interviews with the franchise’s first head coach, Shad Khan said Tom Coughlin did not ask for control over the Jaguars’ 53-man roster. But the owner gave it to the former Jags and Giants HC despite Coughlin not having any NFL executive experience.

For this thing to work, Tom can’t be a hood ornament,” Khan said, via Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. “For him to contribute, he has to have some authority and this is one way of giving him the authority. In all fairness, he never asked for it. The more I thought about it and reflected on it, he doesn’t want to be a pencil-pushing executive. We want his experience and his judgment to help the Jags win.”

This will mean a lesser role for GM Dave Caldwell, who will sink a notch lower on the Jags’ totem pole behind the franchise’s new executive vice president. Khan respects the way Caldwell constructed the roster while noting the 42-year-old executive could learn from the 70-year-old Coughlin.

I think Dave’s done a great job on talent, but he’s a young guy. I think he can learn lot from Tom. There might be a natural human emotion [from Caldwell] of, ‘Gee …’ but I think if you look at what’s best for the Jaguars, I think this is the structure,” Khan said, via John Oehser of Jaguars.com. “Dave gets to do the talent, and I think he’s worked hard. It’s, ‘How do we get more wins?’

Khan acknowledged the disparity between the interest in the Jaguars’ HC job in 2013 compared to the 2016-17 search that ended with interim HC Doug Marrone in the top sideline spot. While promoting the interim HC doesn’t sound as glamorous as hiring then-Seahawks DC Gus Bradley, Khan, via Oehser, pointed to the talent on the roster making a different impression this time around. The Jaguars have not won more than five games in a season since 2010 but were a trendy pick to make some noise last season.

I think the big difference was we had a huge amount of interest this time around. The most important thing was really getting it down to the short list [of candidates], and literally anybody and everybody we wanted to talk to was interested. It also confirmed that we do have the talent. Otherwise there wouldn’t be the interest. Four years ago that was the common thread – that ‘you guys are so far [from contending]’ that they [candidates] could get something more to their liking. This time around we had the talent and we had the interest.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Reactions to Jaguars’ Hirings

The Jaguars have officially announced the hiring of head coach Doug Marrone and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin. The organization also announced the two-year extension for general manager Dave Caldwell. Owner Shad Khan released a statement regarding the moves (via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter):

“I have confidence that one day soon we’ll look back on today’s news as the moment that inspired and ultimately established the Jacksonville Jaguars as a football team that wins, week to week and season to season.

“I am honored to welcome Tom Coughlin back to Jacksonville, where winning was customary under his leadership. I know he expects the same in his return to head our football operations, and that’s good news for us and Jaguars fans everywhere. The extension of Dave Caldwell’s contract speaks to his excellent work thus far and the continued importance of complementing our talented and promising roster. 

“I am particularly enthused to introduce Doug Marrone as our new head coach. Doug is a strong football man in every respect and offers us qualities that will serve us well in all facets of the team, from the meeting rooms to game day and much more. The results will speak for themselves in time, but with Tom coming in to join Dave and Doug, there is no question the Jacksonville Jaguars are a stronger football team today.”

Let’s take a look at some reactions out of Jacksonville following the organization’s busy day…

  • Caldwell will report to Coughlin, reports ESPN.com’s Mike DiRocco. The writer assumes that Coughlin “will have final say over personnel issues as well as the draft,” although the organization hasn’t confirmed whether this will be the case. A source told Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (via Twitter) that Coughlin presumably “has the final say on everything.”
  • Marrone believes Blake Bortles can be a franchise quarterback, and this mindset played a significant role in the hiring, reports Rapoport (via NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal). The organization clearly valued continuity, but Rosenthal notes that there will be “pressure on Marrone and Caldwell to turn Jacksonville’s fortunes around quickly.”
  • Bortles certainly sounded optimistic about the hiring. “I think Doug has earned the respect of the offensive players and I’m excited for him to get this opportunity and the direction of this team,” Bortles told DiRocco.
  • Rosenthal notes that offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will presumably keep his role. Hackett worked under Marrone with Syracuse and the Bills.
  • Meanwhile, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com tweets that the Jaguars’ defensive coaches were told they’d be retained if Marrone got the job. Alex Marvez of The Sporting News provides even more clarity (on Twitter), noting that the team will at least be keeping defensive coordinator Todd Wash and linebackers coach Robert Saleh.
  • Mike Smith was thought to be a close second for the Jaguars job, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports tweets. The former Falcons head coach served as the Buccaneers defensive coordinator this past season. In seven seasons in Atlanta, Smith led his squad to a 66-46 record and four playoff births. Roy Cummings of FloridaFootballInsiders.com writes that Smith is still in the running for the Chargers‘ head coaching gig.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

Jaguars Hire Tom Coughlin As Executive VP

The Jaguars are hiring their former head coach Tom Coughlin as their Executive Vice President of Football Operations, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Meanwhile, general manager Dave Caldwell will stay in place thanks to a two-year extension (Twitter link via Mark Long of The Associated Press). It’s a two-year deal for Coughlin, as well, tying all major players to the organization through 2019. Tom Coughlin (vertical)

[RELATED: Jaguars To Hire Doug Marrone As Head Coach]

Coughlin, 71 in August, was a candidate for the team’s head coaching gig in this cycle, but that job went to Doug Marrone earlier today. Most people in their 70s move to Florida for sunshine and golf, but Coughlin doesn’t have much interest in either. When he parted ways with the Giants last year, Coughlin stayed involved in football with a job in the league office. This year, Coughlin was hinting strongly that he wanted to coach again. His age and aggressive style probably hindered him from returning to the sidelines, but he has found a prominent role in an organization he knows well.

While Coughlin doesn’t technically have any experience as an NFL executive, he essentially acted as the Jaguars’ general manager during his head coaching run with the team from 1995-2002.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars To Interview Tom Coughlin

We’ve been hearing whispers of a Tom Coughlin/Jaguars reunion even before the team fired head coach Gus Bradley earlier this week. Well, it’s sounding like those whispers could soon be a reality. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Jaguars will be interviewing the former head coach this week (via NFL.com’s Conor Orr). It’s uncertain whether Coughlin will be interviewing for the head coaching gig or “some type of “football czar” position overseeing operations.”

Coughlin would be a natural fit for Jacksonville, especially since it was the organization that gave him his first NFL head coaching gig. The 70-year-old also has a house and family in the area, two factors that would reportedly be a “big draw” to the long-time coach. If the organization is indeed pursuing Coughlin as their next head coach, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise. General manager Dave Caldwell previously acknowledged that the veteran coach would be a candidate for the opening.

Tom CoughlinIn eight seasons with the Jaguars, Coughlin led the squad to a 68-60 record and four playoff appearances. The long-time coach had a bit more success when he joined the Giants, compiling a 102-90 record. Of course, Coughlin also led New York to five playoff appearances and two Super Bowl championships. Coughlin resigned as head coach of the Giants following the 2015 season, although he did admit in October that he still has interest in coaching.

Coughlin would seemingly be less of a fit for the front office, although our own Dallas Robinson noted that the coach was essentially building his team’s roster during his previous tenure with the organization. Of course, if the team does add Coughlin in a non-coaching role, it could mean the end of Caldwell’s tenure in Jacksonville.

Rapoport notes that other potential candidates for the Jaguars head coach opening are interim head coach Doug Marrone, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Fire Gus Bradley

Today’s fourth quarter comeback by the Texans cost the Jaguars more than a win. It also cost head coach Gus Bradley his job. The Jaguars have announced that they’ve relieved Bradley of his duties as head coach. Owner Shad Khan released a statement on the team’s website:

Gus Bradley“I thanked Gus Bradley today for his commitment to the Jacksonville Jaguars over the past four seasons. As anyone close to our team knows, Gus gave his staff and players literally everything he had. Our players competed for Gus and I know they have great respect for him, as do I. 

Gus also represented the Jaguars, the Jacksonville community and the NFL in nothing less than a first-class manner as our head coach. That counts for a lot. It is unfortunately evident that we must make a change. I thought it would be best to do it immediately after today’s result so Gus can step away, relax and regroup with his family during the Christmas and holiday season. 

Dave Caldwell agreed and will now be charged with exploring all options to hire the best head coach possible to lead what I feel is an extremely talented team and reward a very loyal and patient fan base in Jacksonville.”

Bradley was considered an excellent signing by the franchise following his success in Seattle from 2009 through 2012. Serving as the team’s defensive coordinator, Bradley’s defenses improved during each of his four seasons. During his final season in Seattle, his squad allowed only 15.3 points per game, which was the best mark in the NFL.

“He’s got a brilliant football mind,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said at the time (via ESPN.com). “He’s got a way of reaching people and touching people and getting the best out of them, coaches and players alike. He’s got everything that you’re looking for.”

Unfortunately, that “brilliant football mind” didn’t translate to wins on the field. In his three-plus seasons with the Jaguars, Bradley compiled a 14-48 record. His .226 winning percent is the second-lowest mark in league history. This will be the second major change on the Jaguars coaching staff this season, as the team fired offensive coordinator Greg Olson back in October.

Fortunately for the Jaguars, it appears that Bradley is the only casualty at this time. Based on Khan’s statement, it appears that general manager Dave Caldwell will retain his job. The team hasn’t won more than five games since Caldwell was hired in early 2013, but the team has had some success in the draft. Blake BortlesAllen Robinson, Aaron Colvin, Telvin Smith, Dante Fowler, Jalen Ramsey, and Myles Jack are among Caldwell’s selections.

ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets that Caldwell is planning on announcing an interim head coach during tomorrow’s press conference. Both Jason La Canfora and PFT’s Mike Florio point to offensive line coach Doug Marrone as a natural fill-in. Marrone led the Bills to a 15-17 record between the 2013 and 2014 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars GM On Pressure, Jack, Fowler Jr.

Dave Caldwell took over as the Jaguars general manager in 2013. Since then, the squad has gone 12-36.

Jan 18, 2013; Jacksonville FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars new general manager Dave Caldwell speaks at a press conference at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Fortunately, there’s reason for optimism in Jacksonville. The offense seemed to have taken major steps forward in 2015, and 2016 will see the addition of several talented defenders. In fact, our own Zach Links picked the Jags to secure one of the AFC’s wild card spots!

Caldwell recently sat down with Ryan O’Halloran of Jacksonville.com to discuss the pressure of being a GM, as well as the additions of defenders Myles Jack and Dante Fowler Jr.. The whole interview is worth reading, but we snagged some of the more notable soundbites below…

On whether there’s additional pressure in fourth year on job:

“Not any more than the previous three years. Our pressure comes from within. … We’ve been doing this for four years, and to have a winning record is probably a reasonable expectation. I think [owner Shad Khan] will make a decision at the end of 16 games and say it’s the direction he likes or doesn’t.”

On not rushing rookie linebacker Myles Jack:

“I’m encouraged by the idea of taking a player in the second round and not needing them to be an impact player right away. That’s a good thing. When he gets on the field, he’ll be a very good player. The fact he doesn’t have to right away is a good thing for this organization.”

On Dante Fowler’s return from injury:

“It’s been truly interesting to see him come off an ACL injury like he has and have the amount of explosion and quickness and speed he possesses and not even for one second think about that injury. He’s flying around, he’s working his tail off in practice and doing a good lot things. He’s getting the rust off. Like our rookies, as the season goes along, he’s going to be a much better player.”