For the first time since the 2013 offseason, the Jacksonville Jaguars have an opening at the general manager position. This time, though, the position may look considerably more appealing.
Ever since Jaguars owner Shad Khan fired longtime general manager Dave Caldwell shortly following a 27-25 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, the question of just how desirable the now open role is for outside candidates.
The question was even posed to head coach Doug Marrone on Monday, with the fourth-year coach stating he thinks it is a job that will attract a lot of candidates. Perhaps Marrone was toeing the company line, but logic is also on his side in most of his arguments.
“I think a lot of things have been cleaned up and that’s an effort on everyone I think to correct," Marrone said Monday when asked about the appeal of the opening.
"Shad [Khan] has said multiple times whatever you need from a support standpoint of whatever the team needs or whatever the players need, it’s never been an issue, so I think that’s attractive."
In the first segment of his answer, Marrone makes an important point. Jacksonville had cap issues and a fractured locker room for much of the last several seasons, but those two specific issues are no longer prevalent.
While some consider Khan's penchant for being one of the NFL's more patient owners as a negative, his patience, support, and stability would likely be seen as a positive to any general manager candidate.
Khan lets his football leadership handle the team, giving them the support they need from his position. But otherwise, he is in the background and it is the football operations' show to run. This was evident the most during Tom Coughlin's tenure as executive vice president of football operations.
Marrone would go on to note that any general manager who comes into Jacksonville will still have work to do, but a potentially stable foundation could be in place.
"I think when you look at the dead money and things of that nature and where we are now, it’s good. I’m not involved in that world as much as far as how do you sell a position like that. I look at it more from the coaching perspective of things that you have to do, but there’s a lot of positives, there’s a lot of positives about it," Marrone said.
"I think there’s lot of good positioning about it, the foundation. I think there’s a couple things that you have to clear up roster-wise, but we knew that going in."
With that said, the Jaguars are still a 1-10 football team without a long-term quarterback. They have a patient owner, loads of cap space, 11 draft picks in 2021, a likely top pick to use on a quarterback, and many other positives, but the Jaguars have had these things before.
The Jaguars have been well-positioned to rebuild in the past, such as when Caldwell came aboard and was able to use several top-5 picks and an open checkbook in free agency. But the Jaguars are still 39-87 since the start of the 2013 season, and Khan is still the second-fastest owner to ever collect 100 career losses in NFL history.
But this time, the positives just may outweigh the negatives. Perhaps Marrone won't be around to see those positives manifest, but there is a bright future in place for the Jaguars as long as they make the right decisions.
"I think you guys can see that and I think it will attract many people," Marrone said. "I mean who wouldn’t want to work for someone that’s going to give you all the support that you need. That’s what you want.