Urban Meyer

Latest On Jaguars’ QB Plans, Roster Control

The Jaguars became the team to lure Urban Meyer to the NFL. Their situation — two first-round picks and a projected league-high in cap space — helped lead to the former national championship-winning head coach making the college-to-pro jump.

Meyer, 56, described the Jags’ draft capital and cap situation as “huge” in convincing him to try his hand in the NFL. He will be the sixth head coach in franchise history and second to come directly out of the college ranks, following Tom Coughlin in 1995.

I think Shad [Khan] and the organization is positioned, and it’s not by accident,” Meyer said Friday. “Shad got very involved in the entire roster, etc. And I think it’s primed. l think it’s primed to put together a good team. People that know me, I’m not going to jump into a situation where I don’t believe we can win. I won’t do that. I think everything is here.”

Jacksonville defeated Indianapolis in Week 1 but lost 15 straight games to secure the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft. The team’s roster has numerous holes, but quarterback will become the franchise’s chief priority. Trevor Lawrence has long expected to be the first name called in the 2021 draft. Meyer has been high on the Clemson superstar, but he also invoked Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields — whom Buckeyes HC successor Ryan Day coached — and BYU passer Zach Wilson when asked about the top pick.

While the Jaguars have employed a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback (Mark Brunell) and used three first-round picks on passers (Byron Leftwich, Blaine Gabbert, Blake Bortles), the franchise’s highest-profile signal-caller will almost certainly arrive in April. Meyer’s comments make it extremely unlikely the Jaguars will do anything else with the pick than select a passer.

You see Trevor, you see Justin, you see Zach, this is going to be, as Shad said, this is a monumental moment for this franchise,” Meyer said. “… Who we pick at that quarterback spot, that’s going to be one of the most important decisions I’ve made in my lifetime, along with the partnership of our owner and our general manager. And the ones that are out there, my initial study, because I have been studying a lot, I like to use the term elite, I see some elite quarterbacks out there right now.”

Khan caused a few waves earlier this month when he said he will maintain control over the Jaguars’ 53-man roster, rather than ceding it to a GM. The owner attempted to push back on that, insisting Meyer will run the show. It appears Jacksonville’s to-be-determined GM will be answering to the new head coach.

The issue of roster control is more technical or symbolic,” Khan said. “My whole aspect, and this started really about 15 months ago, is that we need to be a coach-centric team and organization, where the head coach has to lead the kinds of players he wants, the kind of team we need to be. And the general manager and myself, we have to support that vision.”

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2021 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Exiting the regular season, six teams are searching for new head coaches. That number is up from last season but not quite as high as 2019, though there may well be more vacancies that emerge during the playoffs.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-15-21 (4:13pm CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Jaguars Hire Urban Meyer As Head Coach

After a several-day waiting period, the Jaguars-Urban Meyer deal is finalized. The former national championship-winning Florida and Ohio State coach agreed to terms with Jacksonville.

Long the frontrunner for this position, Meyer spent the past few days closely connected to his first-ever NFL foray. He ultimately decided to accept the Jaguars’ offer. The team has announced the hire.

I’m ready to coach the Jacksonville Jaguars,” Meyer said. “Jacksonville has an enthusiastic fanbase, and the fans deserve a winning team. With upcoming opportunities in the NFL Draft, and strong support from ownership, the Jaguars are well-positioned to become competitive.

“I’ve analyzed this decision from every angle — the time is right in Jacksonville, and the time is right for me to return to coaching. I’m excited about the future of this organization and our long term prospect for success.”

Meyer, 56, won three national championships while in Gainesville and Columbus — in 2006, 2008 and 2014 — and helped develop Alex Smith into a No. 1 overall pick while at Utah. Meyer was a college coach from 1986-2018, coaching briefly at the high school level in the mid-’80s. This will be a new challenge for the well-regarded coach, who has appeared on the NFL radar during past hiring periods.

Factoring in his previous stops at Utah and Bowling Green, Meyer has a lifetime 187-32 record in the college ranks. With Ohio State alone, he went 83-9 across seven seasons. He will almost certainly have the chance to coach Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence to start his NFL run. Working as a Fox analyst since stepping down as Ohio State’s HC, Meyer rated Lawrence as his No. 1 quarterback — over Buckeye passer Justin Fields — entering this season (video link). Lawrence has been expected to go No. 1 overall for a long time now, and the Jaguars’ 1-15 season locked them into the 2021 top slot.

Conflicting reports emerged about Meyer’s salary demands, with one putting them in the $12MM range. Given the Jags’ interest in Meyer, it is likely he will be one of the NFL’s highest-paid head coaches. The lengthy delay between the Jaguars’ interview with their preferred candidate and his acceptance, however, did reportedly frustrate the team. Meyer has stepped away from coaching on multiple occasions, doing so more than once at Florida, so it will be interesting to see how long he will stick around in Jacksonville.

It will also be interesting to see how Meyer and owner Shad Khan coexist. Khan took on a greater say in personnel matters last year and confirmed he will remain heavily involved in roster decisions going forward. Considering the franchise’s strong interest in Meyer, he will almost certainly have a significant say in personnel matters as well. The Jaguars have yet to hire a GM, but the to-be-determined executive will now walk into a situation featuring two high-profile power brokers.

Meyer has been linked to multiple assistants already, including former Texas HC Charlie Strong and Texans DC Anthony Weaver, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo and Fox 26’s Mark Berman (Twitter links).

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Jaguars, Urban Meyer Finalizing Deal

It’s not a done deal yet. But it’s close. The Jaguars are closing in on a contract to make Urban Meyer their new head coach, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets

[RELATED: Chargers Interested In Urban Meyer]

Meyer would become the sixth full-time head coach in franchise history. Of course, the Jaguars aren’t going to bank on that until he signs on the bottom line. Meyer was reportedly on the fence about the job as recently as this week. The Chargers — a team that might be better equipped to win in 2021 — have also contacted him.

The former University of Florida and Ohio State coach has a long track record of success. That includes National Championships in 2006, 2008, and 2014. Factoring in his previous stops at Utah and Bowling Green, Meyer has a lifetime 187-32 record in the college ranks. With Ohio State alone, he went 83-9 across seven seasons.

For Meyer, it’s an opportunity to return to the sidelines after a two-year layoff. He’ll also have the opportunity to groom the No. 1 overall pick — probably Clemson star Trevor Lawrence, but possibly Ohio State standout Justin Fields.

Here’s the full look at the Jaguars search, to date, via PFR’s tracker:

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Chargers Interested In Urban Meyer

The Chargers are exploring Urban Meyer as a candidate, according to sources who spoke with Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). Meyer has been non-committal in talks with the Jaguars, and that’s partially due to the Bolts’ interest.

Meyer hasn’t had a formal interview with the Chargers yet, but that conversation could be just around the corner. So far, the Chargers’ search has been mostly focused on candidates with NFL experience, as shown in PFR’s 2021 Head Coaching Search Tracker:

The Jaguars have the No. 1 overall pick, but the Chargers may be a more attractive destination for Meyer. They already have a promising young quarterback in Justin Herbert, plus a ton of talent on the other side of the ball. In L.A., Meyer could have safety Derwin James, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Chris Harris, and edge rushers Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa at edge rusher.

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Jaguars Frustrated With Urban Meyer?

The Jaguars are said to be infatuated with Urban Meyer. Those feelings aren’t exactly being reciprocated. Though Meyer is interested in the Jags, he is still on the fence about coaching in 2020 and making the leap to the pros, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The Jaguars have also met with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, Falcons interim head coach Raheem MorrisTitans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. Meyer — likely pricier than your average college coach — would make the biggest splash of the bunch. The Jaguars also had interest in Ryan Day, Ohio State’s current head coach, but he’s not ready to turn pro.

For Meyer, the Jaguars would represent a brand new challenge and an opportunity to coach this year’s No. 1 overall pick. Still, it would mean less time with his family, and there may also be health considerations involved.

 

Rapoport hears that some folks in the Jaguars’ front office are growing frustrated with Meyer’s indecisiveness. The former UF and Ohio State coach has flirted with the NFL in the past, only to rebuff inquiries. This time around, Meyer’s camp was proactive in generating buzz and scaring up opportunities. Yet, Meyer still isn’t sure about what he wants to do.

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Jaguars To Meet With Urban Meyer

The Jaguars are set to meet with Urban Meyer on Friday, according to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Meyer has long been regarded as the frontrunner for the job, but the Jaguars are planning to conduct a thorough search before making their pick. 

The Jaguars have already interviewed Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy and Falcons interim head coach Raheem Morris. Then, on Saturday, they’ll chat with 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. Meyer — who may or may not be seeking $12MM/year in order to jump to the pros — would be an immediate hit in Northern Florida. The former UF and Ohio State coach has a long track record of success, including National Championships in 2006, 2008, and 2014.

For Meyer, it’s an opportunity to return to the sidelines after a two-year layoff. He’ll also have the opportunity to groom the No. 1 overall pick — likely to be Clemson phenom Trevor Lawrence, but possibly Ohio State standout Justin Fields. That process will play out in concert with the Jaguars’ next GM, plus input from owner Shad Khan.

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Urban Meyer Not Seeking $12MM/Year?

On Monday, it was reported that Urban Meyer is seeking $12MM a year to coach in the NFL. However, that figure is not accurate, according to a source who spoke with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

The former University of Florida and Ohio State coach has been heavily connected to the Jaguars and is said to have drawn interest from at least one other team. He’s figures to have lots of leverage in talks, so the $12MM/year mark doesn’t seem that outlandish. For reference, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and Saints HC Sean Payton are believed to make roughly $15MM per year. Bill Belichick, meanwhile, is the clubhouse leader with $20MM per annum.

Meyer may not have the NFL experience of other candidates, but he does come with a stellar resume, including three national championships. Two of those titles came in Florida, giving him even greater name recognition and drawing power in the Jacksonville area. In the past, Meyer has flirted with the pros only to stay in the college ranks. This time around, teams believe that he’s serious about coming to the NFL. And, of course, the opportunity to develop Clemson superstar Trevor Lawrence is a major plus.

In addition to the 56-year-old Meyer, the Jaguars have also been connected to 38-year-old Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. They’re not alone — all six teams with vacancies are set to talk to him.

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Urban Meyer Wants $12MM+ To Coach In NFL?

Coaching searches around the league are only just getting started, and the only place where there’s a clear favorite right now is Jacksonville with Urban Meyer. By all accounts, the job appears to be his to lose if he wants it. But if the legendary college coach is going to make the jump to the NFL, he has a baseline amount of compensation he’s seeking.

Meyer is apparently asking for $12MM annually on any deal, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. That might sound like a lot for a coach but as Florio points out, it’s not that out of sync with the current market. He writes that Matt Rhule got nearly $9MM annually from the Panthers despite being relatively unproven.

In a subsequent tweet discussing his piece, Florio said that Pete Carroll is believed to make over $15MM per year from the Seahawks, that the Saints’ Sean Payton is somewhere around there, and that Bill Belichick is believed to get over $20MM annually from the Patriots.

With the Jags clinching the first overall pick in the draft a couple weeks ago, that job obviously became a lot more attractive. Meyer has reportedly begun lining up a staff for a potential jump, and it now seems more likely than not to happen. Assuming Jaguars owner Shad Khan is willing to meet his financial demands, it wouldn’t be surprising if something came together quickly here.

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Jaguars Expected To Fire Doug Marrone, Target Urban Meyer

After coaching a depleted team that ended up losing 14 straight games — and securing the 2021 No. 1 overall pick — Doug Marrone is expected to be fired. The Jaguars are planning to end Marrone’s four-plus-season tenure after Week 17, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports.

Although the Jags have not made a final decision, Marrone narrowly avoided an ouster after the 2019 season. The team has since fired GM Dave Caldwell, and seeing a coach hang onto his job after a 14-game losing streak would obviously be quite unusual.

The team appears to be moving fast on Marrone’s replacement, eyeing Urban Meyer. The former Florida and Ohio State coach has already begun lining up a staff, according to Rapoport, who adds the ex-national champion expects to land the Jacksonville job.

At least two teams have reached out to Meyer about a head coaching role; the Jaguars certainly appear to be one of the two. Meyer, who has a history of spurning interest or leaving posts abruptly, has not committed to coaching in 2021, Rapoport adds.

Two of Meyer’s three national championships came in north Florida, when he led the Gators to titles in 2006 and ’08. This would make Jacksonville a logical landing spot. A greater interest has emerged in the Jaguars job due to the expected arrival of Clemson phenom Trevor Lawrence. Meyer has landed on other NFL teams’ radars in the past, but this time his interest in the pros appears genuine. Meyer, 56, stepped down multiple times at Florida and left his Ohio State post — at which he claimed a third national championship — in 2019.

If Meyer again ends up declining a path to the pros, the Jaguars have another option in mind. In this scenario, the Jags, per Rapoport (on Twitter), would target Meyer’s Ohio State successor — Ryan Day. Unlike Meyer, Day has NFL experience. He served as QBs coach for the 2015 Eagles and 2016 49ers. Both those gigs came under Chip Kelly, and those respective organizations cleaned house after each of those campaigns. Day, 41, has been at Ohio State since 2017, rising to their head coaching position in 2019. Day will coach Ohio State in the upcoming national championship game.

Marrone’s first full Jacksonville season went better than just about anyone could have expected. The Blake Bortles-quarterbacked team ventured to the AFC championship game, upsetting the Steelers in Round 2. The Jags nearly pulled off a bigger upset but squandered a late lead against the Patriots. Everything went downhill from there. After an ill-fated Bortles extension backfired, the Jags did not come close to competing for a playoff spot again under Marrone.

The team fired executive VP Tom Coughlin before last season ended, and while ownership kept the Caldwell-Marrone duo in place, the Jaguars purged most of the players from their 2017 squad from the roster. Even after trading the likes of Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, the Jags placed many of their new starters on IR. This helped key the 14-game skid that ended up securing the franchise the No. 1 overall pick. Jacksonville holds two first-round picks in the upcoming draft, and a new coach will be in charge of attempting to resurrect a franchise that has not made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since the 1990s.

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