Tom Coughlin

This Date In Transactions History: Tom Coughlin, Giants Part Ways

Six years ago today, the Tom Coughlin era in New York came to an end. On January 4th, 2016, we learned that the Giants and their Super Bowl-winning head coach were parting ways.

Following a relatively successful stint as the Jaguars head coach, Coughlin joined the Giants in 2004. During his first five season at the helm, the Giants won 47 regular season games, made four postseason appearances, and won a Super Bowl. After dropping to 8-8 in 2009, they rebounded with 10 wins in 2010 before earning another ring in 2011. At that point of time, it seemed inconceivable that the organization would let go of their head coach.

However, after falling to 9-7 in 2012, the Giants failed to finish above .500 between 2013 and 2015, averaging 6.33 wins per season during that three-year span. Following a 6-10 2015 campaign that featured a handful of miserable losses, the writing was clearly on the wall. There were whispers that the Giants were prepared to move on from Coughlin, but naturally, the organization allowed the successful coach to save face. So, on this date six years ago, Coughlin announced that he was stepping down from his position after the two sides decided to part ways.

“I met with John Mara and Steve Tisch this afternoon, and I informed them that it is in the best interest of the organization that I step down as head coach,” Coughlin said in a statement. “I strongly believe the time is right for me and my family, and as I said, the Giants organization.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as head coach of the New York Football Giants. This is a not a sad occasion for me. I have spent 15 years with this organization as an assistant and head coach and was fortunate to be part of three Super Bowl winning teams. A Lombardi Trophy every five years is an achievement in which we all take great pride.”

And like that, the then-third-longest-tenured head coach in the NFL was out in New York. While Coughlin seemed to hint at wanting time away from the game, he was immediately connected to a number of coaching gigs. At different points, Coughlin was connected to HC jobs with the Eagles (a job that he reportedly could have had), 49ers, and the Jaguars. Jacksonville quickly pivoted their focus and pursued Coughlin as a top executive … a position he eventually accepted. In 2017, Coughlin was hired as the Jaguars new Executive Vice President of Football Operations, a role that required him to oversee the front office (including GM Dave Caldwell). While the former coach didn’t technically have any executive experience, he essentially acted as the Jaguars’ general manager during his first stint with the organization.

Things went great during Coughlin’s first season back in Jacksonville, as the Jaguars reached the AFC Championship for the first time since Coughlin was head coach. After Jacksonville won 10 regular season games during that 2017 run, they only managed to win 11 games over the next two seasons. Off the field, matters were worse. Players were fined hundreds of thousands of dollars during offseasons (leading to the NFLPA winning a grievance against the organization), and the old-school leader was the driving force behind Jalen Ramsey‘s decision to request a trade. Further, Coughlin was criticized for his handling of the quarterback position; while he wasn’t with the organization when the Jaguars selected Blake Bortles, he authorized the QB’s three-year, $54MM extension. Further, among Coughlin’s 21 draft picks, only two made Pro Bowls, and he also selected RB Leonard Fournette with his first draft selection (No. 4 in 2017, ahead of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, no less).

Coughlin was ultimately canned by the Jaguars at the end of that 2019 campaign. When he was fired, ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen said “there is plenty of football left in Tom Coughlin.” We haven’t heard much from the 75-year-old since that time, and it remains to be seen whether his name will be tossed around for any HC vacancies this offseason. Speaking of, in the six seasons since Coughlin left New York, the Giants have shuffled through three head coaches, with Joe Judge currently on the hot seat. Interesting…

Latest On Tom Coughlin, Jaguars’ Plans

While Tom Coughlin is expected to pursue other opportunities in football, the since-fired Jaguars executive was planning to leave the team on his own accord at season’s end, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports.

Furthermore, Jags owner Shad Khan did not give Coughlin a chance to resign before firing him, Florio notes, adding that Coughlin was expected to announce next week he was leaving after the regular season’s conclusion. This lends further credence to the notion Khan’s dismissal of the third-year executive VP came as a result of an arbitrator’s ruling in favor of the NFLPA regarding player grievances against the franchise.

Khan has kept seventh-year GM Dave Caldwell and third-year head coach Doug Marrone on board, despite the team’s struggles over the past two seasons, rather than opting for a full housecleaning. While this could point to the owner leaning toward giving the duo a full season to operate without Coughlin, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets Khan has long admired the Patriots’ way of doing business. This has led to weeks-long buzz of the Jags being interested in pairing Scott Pioli and Josh McDaniels together in a front office-sideline tandem.

McDaniels has caused rather notable chaos in Denver and Indianapolis, the latter instance coming when he spurned an agreement to become the Colts’ HC in 2018. But the Patriots OC has generated consistent interest for much of this decade. Despite his recent Colts decision, McDaniels took an interview with the Packers earlier this year. Pioli’s opportunity running a team did not go well, either, with he and the Chiefs parting ways after four seasons. The former Patriots exec resigned from his post as Falcons assistant GM in May, ending a five-year tenure. McDaniels and Pioli have not worked together since the 2008 season.

Tom Coughlin Does Not Intend To Retire

Shad Khan fired Tom Coughlin from his post as Jaguars executive vice president earlier Wednesday night, doing so after initially planning to remove him from the role at season’s end.

Coughlin does not intend to retire. His agent, Sandy Montag, told ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen (Twitter link) “The only thing I would say is there is plenty of football left in Tom Coughlin.”

As head of football operations for the Jaguars for the last three years I was responsible for all things related to football,” Coughlin said in a statement (Twitter link via Mortensen). “I take great pride in our accomplishments, especially in 2017. I’d like to thank Shad Khan for the opportunity to come back to Jacksonville, all the players and staff for their efforts and the fans here for their support.”

Coughlin took one season off, 2016, after his Giants tenure ended after 12 seasons. The Jaguars rehired him in January 2017. They went 10-6 and made an unexpected run to the AFC championship game in 2017 but have gone 10-20 over the past two seasons. The extensive grievances filed against the Jaguars during Coughlin’s tenure, and an arbitrator’s ruling in favor of the NFLPA on Monday, likely accelerated Coughlin’s departure.

The Jaguars’ head coach/de facto GM from 1995-2002, Coughlin went on to win two Super Bowls with the Giants. Coughlin, who briefly served in the NFL’s football operations department in between Giants and Jags stays, was a candidate for the head coach position Doug Marrone received but instead became the team’s executive VP. Coughlin initially hoped to coach in 2017 and may want to return to such a role, but at 73, he’s far older than any NFL HC ever hired.

Jaguars Fire Executive VP Tom Coughlin

The major changes in Jacksonville are starting. The Jaguars fired executive vice president Tom Coughlin on Wednesday night, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). The team has announced the move.

Coughlin, 73, was in his third season with the franchise. This marked the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach’s second stint in Jacksonville. He was the Jags’ first head coach, serving in that role from 1995-2002.

This move comes, obviously, as the Jaguars are wrapping up a second consecutive disappointing season. It also follows Monday’s news of an arbitrator ruling against the Jaguars and the NFLPA indicating in a statement that 25% of player grievances over the past two years have been against the Jags. In the statement, which centered around the Coughlin-led organization levying offseason fines, the union urged players to avoid signing with the Jaguars as free agents.

Owner Shad Khan said in a statement he determined earlier this season he would fire Coughlin at year’s end but changed his mind after recent days. It would appear the grievance ruling accelerated this timetable. Khan added that GM Dave Caldwell and HC Doug Marrone will report directly to him for the time being.

I determined earlier this fall that making this move at the conclusion of the 2019 season would be in everyone’s best interests but, in recent days, I reconsidered and decided to make this change immediately,” Khan said. “I thank Tom for all his efforts, not only over the past three years but for all he did from our very first season, 25 years ago, to put the Jacksonville Jaguars on the map.”

Khan hired Coughlin in January 2017, stripping some of Caldwell’s powers to bring the longtime Giants HC into the fold. After Caldwell’s first four years as GM did not produce any winning seasons, the Coughlin-Caldwell tandem installed Marrone as the team’s full-time HC. The Jaguars went 10-6 and came as close to reaching a Super Bowl as they had in their 25-year history, losing a lead late in the 2017 AFC championship game.

On the field, the Jaguars have gone 10-20 since. Off the field, matters have been worse. Players were fined hundreds of thousands of dollars during offseasons, with Dante Fowler and Leonard Fournette confirming they filed grievances against Coughlin. The old-school leader also was the driving force behind Jalen Ramsey‘s decision to request a trade earlier this season, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes players had become frustrated by Coughlin’s mere presence in the building (video link). While the disciplinarian adapted in New York, winning over the Giants and guiding them to two Super Bowls, Coughlin’s methods did not go over well with a younger crop of players in Jacksonville.

Marrone looks like a Black Monday candidate, and although Caldwell has managed to avoid ouster rumors, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes (via Twitter) Jags coaches and scouts have inquired about other jobs for weeks. Quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich landed another CFL head coaching job last week. Caldwell made the Blake Bortles draft pick in 2014 and, along with Coughlin, authorized a 2018 extension for the embattled quarterback. The Jaguars, who selected Fournette over Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes in Coughlin’s first draft, took a $16.5MM dead-money hit to cut Bortles this year. Neither Marrone nor Caldwell, however, are locks to be fired, Rapoport adds.

NFLPA Wins Grievance Against Jaguars

The NFL Players Association has won a grievance against the Jaguars and has released a rather scathing statement on the team’s policies, as Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets.

The entire statement from the union may be found at the Twitter link above, but essentially, the Jags (read: executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin) have recently required their players to get all offseason medical treatment at the team facility. When players failed to do so, they were disciplined by the club.

For instance, one player — whom Mark Long of the Associated Press identified as former Jaguar and current Ram Dante Fowler (Twitter link) — was fined 25 times for a total of $700K in 2018 for missing offseason appointments at Jacksonville headquarters. Fowler confirmed (via Twitter) that he was indeed the player referenced in the statement, and he said, “[the Jaguars] literally hated me.” All of the fines have now been rescinded.

An arbitrator found that, except in very limited circumstances, offseason activities of any kind are voluntary and a team cannot make them mandatory. The statement goes on to say that, in the last two years — Coughlin has served in his current post since 2017 — 25% of grievances filed by NFL players have been filed against the Jaguars.

This development obviously reflects poorly on the Jags, who are expected to make major organizational changes this offseason. That could include the departure of Coughlin, which may not be a bad thing as far as attracting free agents is concerned.

Jaguars Expected To Make Major Offseason Changes

It has been speculated for some time that the Jaguars may undergo a major organizational overhaul this offseason, and sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com that the club is indeed expected to make significant changes in the new year.

Many around the league expect head coach Doug Marrone to be fired, per Schefter. Others believe that executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin could step aside to spend more time with family.

Schefter’s report did not offer any concrete rumors as to GM Dave Caldwell, but recent reports have suggested that he may be on the chopping block as well. Of course, owner Shad Khan considered a shakeup after the 2018 season, but he opted to remain patient. However, his patience has not been rewarded, and the Jags have sputtered to a 4-9 record in 2019.

This same power structure guided Jacksonville to the AFC Championship Game in 2017, and the team was one quarter away from upsetting the Patriots in that contest and advancing to the Super Bowl. The Jags looked like a team on the rise, but they have regressed in a big way and now look like they could be headed for yet another rebuild.

AFC South Notes: Jags, Tannehill, Funchess

As they limp towards the end of their second consecutive disappointing campaign, the Jaguars could be looking at a major organizational overhaul this offseason, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes. Several members of head coach Doug Marrone‘s staff believe Marrone will be fired at season’s end, and questions remain as to how long team president Tom Coughlin will remain with the club.

Indeed, La Canfora says members of Jacksonville’s front office are just as concerned about their job security as the team’s coaches and are beginning to explore opportunities elsewhere. Owner Shad Khan did consider a significant shakeup last year before opting to retain Marrone, Coughlin, and GM Dave Caldwell, but he may not be as patient this time. If Khan does elect to make a GM change, La Canfora names Scott Pioli as a potential replacement, and Patriots OC Josh McDaniels could be on the short list of replacements for Marrone.

Now for more from the AFC South:

  • The Titans are interested in extending their relationship with quarterback Ryan Tannehill beyond 2019, and as La Canfora writes, the franchise tag could be in play for Tannehill. The tag would come with a roughly $27MM cap hit, but with Tannehill suddenly a hot commodity, the club could hit him with the tag as a precursor to a multi-year pact. Of course, much depends on how Tannehill finishes the season, and while the two sides are unlikely to engage in contract talks in the short term, Tannehill looks set to cash in once the season is over.
  • Despite some hope that veteran wideout Devin Funchess would be returning to the field soon, the Colts have decided to shut him down for the year, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Funchess, who suffered a fractured collarbone during Indianapolis’ Week 1 loss to the Chargers, simply has not healed enough, per Rapoport, who says the plate inserted into the fracture did not work out as hoped. This is a difficult blow for the Colts, who have seen many of their top skill players miss time due to injury this year.
  • The Texans have been in the news a great deal over the last two days. The team placed first-round rookie Tytus Howard on IR on Saturday, and today we learned that the club will operate without a GM in 2020. Houston also got some potentially exciting news, as J.J. Watt could return to the field in time for the playoffs.

Jaguars Coughlin Noncommittal On Marrone’s Future

Jaguars executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin held his first press conference in roughly seven months. His answers were short and at time curt with reporters as he pleaded with fans to attend the teams final three home games of the season. The most notable takeaway, however, surrounded the status of current head coach Doug Marrone, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.

When asked about whether Marrone was in the team’s plans for the future, Coughlin skirted the question saying the team would focus on that at the end of the season. After Marrone’s first season in Jacksonville, he looked destined to be in charge for the long haul. That season the Jaguars had one of the best defensive units in football that nearly led them to the Super Bowl before a tough loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Currently, at 4-7 Marrone is in his second consecutive disappointing season as the head coach in Jacksonville, though, things look a lot different.

This offseason, the team signed quarterback Nick Foles to solidify their offense. However, Foles almost immediately suffered a broken collarbone in his first regular season action. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew took the league by storm while Foles recovered, but is far from a dynamic option. The more concerning occurrence for the Jaguars has been the denaturation of their elite defense to one of the more inconsistent units in football.

For what it’s worth, Coughlin was also noncommittal on his own future in Jacksonville. When asked whether he planned on returning to the team, he remained steadfast that all of those decisions would be evaluated and made after the season was over.

Ramsey Fallout: Ravens, Chiefs, Coughlin

Jalen Ramsey returned to action Sunday, and the Rams snapped their losing skid. Here is the latest on how Ramsey got to Los Angeles, and other franchises’ involvement, courtesy of SI.com’s Albert Breer.

  • In addition to the Eagles’ offer of first- and second-round picks, the Ravens resided as a Ramsey finalist, Breer notes. Baltimore and Philadelphia were the top runners-up for the All-Pro cornerback. One reason the Jaguars preferred the Rams‘ offer, other than the first-round picks coming their way: a desire for a “clean” trade that did not come with the Jags parting with draft capital in a pick-swap-style exchange. The Rams agreed to these terms, and it’s unclear if the other teams did. The Ravens were on Ramsey’s list, but hours before the Rams won the pursuit, Baltimore acquired Marcus Peters from the Rams to help facilitate the deal.
  • Both the Chiefs and Raiders were also on Ramsey’s list. While the two AFC West teams were previously reported as meeting with Ramsey’s approval, the Chiefs were not a serious contender to land him. However, it appears they wanted to be. Kansas City would have preferred to be in the Ramsey mix, but no Jacksonville call came as the process progressed, per Breer. The Jags expected the Chiefs’ draft picks to be too low for their liking, perhaps pointing to the Chiefs as being the team that initially offered two first-rounders. It’s unclear if the Raiders were a serious bidder.
  • Ramsey’s issues with the Jaguars‘ front office were all about Tom Coughlin, Breer notes. The third-year executive VP has been known to ruffle feathers, and the old-school leader made comments about certain Jaguars’ lack of attendance at offseason workouts. The Jags informed Ramsey over the summer they would not extend him in 2019, though Breer adds that he was fine playing out this season on his rookie deal. However, the fourth-year cornerback said the last straw was a contentious meeting after the Week 2 Texans game. Coughlin was not with the Jaguars when they drafted Ramsey in 2016.

Jaguars’ Coughlin, Caldwell, Marrone To Return In 2019

The Jaguars apparently won’t be making any sweeping changes this offseason. Owner Shad Khan announced that Tom Coughlin, general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone will all return in 2019 (via the team’s Twitter account).

“I informed Tom Coughlin this week that I want him to see through our shared goal of bringing a Super Bowl title to Jacksonville,” Khan said in a statement. “Given our overall body of work over the past two seasons, I offered to Tom that I preferred entering the 2019 season with as much stability as reasonable or possible at the top of our football operation. However, those decisions, at all times, are Tom’s decisions, and I would respect any call he made on our general manager and head coach. I am pleased that Tom sees our situation and opportunity similarly, so we will return to work this week fully confident and optimistic with Dave Caldwell as our general manager and Doug Marrone as our head coach.

I have the same trust in Tom, Dave, and Doug as I did upon their introduction two years ago, and I do believe our best path forward for the moment is the one less disruptive and dramatic. Stability should not be confused with satisfaction, however. I am far from content with the status quo and while it’s best to put 2018 behind us, I will not overlook how poorly we accounted for ourselves following a 3-1 start. There were far too many long Sundays over the last three quarters of the season, with today’s loss in Houston being the final example, and that cannot repeat itself in 2019. That’s my message to our football people and players, but also our sponsors and fans, both of whom were remarkable.”

All around, the news isn’t all that surprising. Coughlin, who is serving as the Executive Vice President of Football Operations, all but has free reign over the organization, and he signed an extension back in February that would take him through the 2021 season. Caldwell, who has been the team’s general manager since 2013, also extended his contract through 2021 back in February.

However, there were some whispers that Marrone could find himself on the hot seat. We heard back in November that Marrone was safe, and the organization doubled down on that sentiment last week. There were some rumblings that Coughlin could actually make himself head coach of the Jaguars, but the organization appears to be content rolling with their current head coach. In two-plus seasons with the team, Marrone has helped guide the Jaguars to 16-18 record, and he led the team to an AFC Championship appearance last season.

While key members of the front office and coaching staff will return in 2019, the team could still see some major changes this offseason. The team could decide to find a replacement for quarterback Blake Bortles, and there have also been rumors that they’ll search for a new offensive coordinator. Nathaniel Hackett was fired from the role back in November.