The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the worst-run organizations in the NFL, and the franchise continues to have no direction heading into 2020.
Fortress of suckitude: This team has put together just one winning season since 2008, despite a recent trend of throwing gobs of money at free agents in an attempt to buy its way into the playoffs. During the past 12 years, the team’s record is 63-129 — the lone winning season coming in 2017 when Blake Bortles took them all the way to the AFC Championship Game.
That one season was the glaring exception to the rule, however. And that rule is: The Jaguars have no idea what they are doing when it comes to long-term team building.
What are you doing? Time and time again, the Jaguars have made personnel decisions that just make no sense at all. Just looking at the past year, here’s a recap of the worst decisions the club has made.
- Last year, the team’s decision to throw money at Nick Foles was one we said was the wrong move. One year later, and the franchise is already looking to move on.
- Jalen Ramsey — one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL — was full of glee when the Jaguars sent him packing in a trade to the Los Angeles Rams.
- Jacksonville traded cornerback A.J. Bouye this offseason after doling out a five-year, $67.5 million deal ahead of the 2017 season — a move that prompted Ramsey to troll the organization big time. The team received just a fourth-round pick in exchange for the cover corner.
- Even worse, the Jags sent dominant defensive lineman Calais Campbell to one of the AFC’s best teams in exchange for a fifth-round pick.
Keep swinging: Now in free agency this offseason, the Jaguars have made more decisions that indicate there is no real plan in place. They’ve reportedly agreed to contracts with two free agents so far, but it’s hard to imagine either of them will help Jacksonville get back to its (extremely brief) Sacksonville identity.
- Darqueze Dennard, cornerback (three-year deal worth $13.5 million): Dennard isn’t a bad cornerback. But in no way is he going to replace the likes of Ramsey or Bouye. He is a serviceable third option.
- Joe Schobert, linebacker (five-year deal worth $53.75 million): This isn’t the worst deal in the world. Schobert can make tackles and has a knack for being a playmaker. That being said, he’ll be swamped this coming season without some serious help up front — Marcell Dareus is expected to be cut, and Campbell is gone.
Once a fearsome unit, this Jaguars defense has lost much of its bite the past year or so. Now, it’s hard to imagine Jacksonville will feature anything more than an average defensive attack in 2020. Especially considering its top pass rusher, Yannick Ngakoue, has made it clear he wants to be traded.
Gotta have a quarterback: The Jaguars have been really bad when it comes to identifying and evaluating top quarterback talent ever since the Mark Brunell era.
- In 2003, the Jaguars selected Byron Leftwich No. 7 overall. He was a total bust in Jacksonville and lasted just four seasons.
- David Garrard, a fourth-round pick in 2002, ended up being the best quarterback the Jaguars have sported since Brunnel. He started 68 games from 2006-10 but was never more than a mediocre pro quarterback.
- In 2011, the Jaguars selected Blaine Gabbert with the No. 10 overall pick. He has been one of the biggest quarterback busts in recent memory.
- In 2014, Jacksonville made Blake Bortles the third overall pick. He is now a backup, and like Gabbert, is considered to be one of the biggest busts in recent history.
Now we’re up to date, with the Jags’ most recent failure at this position being the decision to ink Foles to a massive contract last year in free agency. Jacksonville may have lucked into a decent starter selecting former Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew, but the book is still out on him.
The bottom line: There’s a reason all the top players have been begging to get out of Jacksonville these days. The organization has no clear direction, and it seems to not have any awareness about how to handle superstar personalities.
This team is destined to remain mediocre (at best) in the coming years unless Minshew ends up turning into the second coming of Tom Brady. But even then, Brady at least had Bill Belichick’s genius on his side. Minshew has Doug Marrone, who has been a mediocre head coach going all the way back to his days with the Buffalo Bills.
It can’t be easy being a Jaguars fan.