The Jacksonville Jaguars have begun to hit the restart button on the organization's leadership, announcing Sunday evening that general manager Dave Caldwell had been fired.
“I’ve met with Dave Caldwell to express my appreciation for his service to the Jacksonville Jaguars as our general manager. Dave was exceptionally committed and determined to bring a winner to Jacksonville, but unfortunately his efforts were not rewarded with the results our fans deserve and our organization expects," Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in a statement following Caldwell's firing.
"Our football operation needs new leadership, and we will have it with a new general manager in 2021.”
Caldwell's firing comes directly after a 27-25 loss to the Cleveland Browns that dropped the Jaguars to 1-10. It was the team's 10th consecutive loss, setting a single-season franchise record.
With Caldwell no longer leading Jacksonville's front office, the Jaguars have made an in-house promotion for the short-term. Former San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke will serve as interim general manager through the end of the 2020 season. Khan spoke to Baalke after the game to inform him of the appointment. Baalke is currently the team's Director of Player Personnel.
What does the move to fire Caldwell mean for the Jaguars' coaching staff? As of now, not much. Khan spoke to head coach Doug Marrone after the game to confirm with him that the decision to fire Caldwell has no bearing on him and his staff. Marrone was told he and his staff would remain in place through the end of the 2020 season.
Khan also spoke to Head Coach Doug Marrone after the game to confirm that the decision on Dave Caldwell has no bearing on Marrone or his coaching staff. Khan informed Marrone that he and his coaching staff will remain in place through the end of the 2020 season.
Caldwell was one of the AFC's longer-tenured general managers, first stepping into the role in Jacksonville in 2013. The Jaguars saw just one winning season under Caldwell, however, and it came in 2017 when Caldwell was joined in the front office by Tom Coughlin.
In his nearly eight years with the Jaguars, Caldwell compiled a 39-87 record as general manager (counting postseason). The Jaguars lost double-digit amount of games in every one of these seasons but 2017.
2017 was a magical year, with many of Caldwell's acquisitions playing big roles. Yannick Ngakoue, Telvin Smith, Brandon Linder, Malik Jackson, and Tashaun Gipson were all Caldwell picks or signings that helped push the Jaguars to a 10-6 record and an appearance in the AFC Championship Game.
But Caldwell's tenure was also defined by gaffes in the first round and at the quarterback position. None of Caldwell's first round picks from before 2018 are still on the roster, with Luke Joeckel (No. 2 overall), Blake Bortles (No. 3 overall), Dante Fowler (No. 3 overall), and Leonard Fournette (No. 4 overall) all ending up as busts. Jalen Ramsey was the lone good pick, but he forced his way out of Jacksonville.
The 1-10 Jaguars will now look toward a future without Caldwell. The organization is, at last, starting anew, and the first domino to fall was the architect of most of the last decade of Jaguars football.