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Jaguars, Coughlin part ways

Former head coach-turned-Executive Vice President’s second stint in Jacksonville has come to a close.

The Jaguars announced they have parted ways with Tom Coughlin, the team’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations, the organization announced Wednesday. Coughlin had held the post since January of 2017.

Jaguars owner, Shad Khan released the following statement:

"Within the past hour, I informed Tom Coughlin that he was being relieved of his duties as Executive Vice President of Football Operations of the Jacksonville Jaguars, effective this evening.  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.  I thank Tom for 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.  General Manager Dave Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone will each report directly to me on an interim basis.  My expectations, and those of our fans, for our final two games and the 2020 season are high." 

Khan's decision to relieve Coughlin of his duties comes on the heels of a statement by the NFL Players' Association, in which the latter said that 25-percent of all grievance claims since 2017 have been Jaguars players.

Coughlin assumed the Executive Vice President role in January 2017. 

Coughlin was the first coach in Jacksonville Jaguars history from 1995 to 2002. He was fired following a 6-10 campaign in 2002 and amidst a massive dead cap. With no general manager in 2002, in addition to serving as head coach, Coughlin oversaw personnel during his first tenure. After a successful, first five seasons – including two AFC Championship game appearances – Coughlin and the Jags failed to post a winning record from 2000 to 2002. Salary cap problems mounted, costing the Jaguars 11 starters and $26 million, and so, despite former owner Wayne Weaver taking responsibility for the salary cap problems, Coughlin was dismissed.

If that sounds somewhat familiar, it’s because it is.

In 2017, Coughlin and his chosen head coach, Doug Marrone, led the Jaguars back to the AFC Championship game for the first time since 1999 – and their first playoff appearance in total in 10 years. The Jaguars came up just short to the New England Patriots in that AFC Championship game, but, for their remarkable run, Coughlin, Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell were all given extensions through 2021. In return, they signed quarterback Blake Bortles, the inconsistent former first-round draftee, to an extension, and a flurry of other free agents.

However, plagued by injury, penalties and Bortles’ regression, the Jaguars dropped to 5-11 in Coughlin’s second year at the helm. The Bortles extension was not only viewed as a massive mistake: the team was forced to cut their franchise quarterback and take on $16.5 million in dead money during the 2019 season.

Despite that debt, the Jaguars signed a new franchise quarterback, Nick Foles, to a four-year, $88-million contract in March 2019. Foles was injured on the 11th play from scrimmage in the season opener and would miss the next eight games. When he returned, he threw for just 2 touchdowns in 3 games before being benched for rookie Gardner Minshew. Should Foles join Bortles among the Jaguars, quarterback cut-casualties – and be a pre-June 5 cut – the Jaguars will pay over $33 million in dead money.

That’s a lot of money for a player not to play.

And who oversaw player personnel?

Coughlin.

Combine that with another non-winning season in 2019, and that’s far from a recipe for success and sustainability.

In between his stints in Jacksonville, Coughlin was the head coach of the New York Giants from 2004 to 2016, winning two Super Bowls before failing to reach .500 in Coughlin’s final three seasons at the helm.

Sound familiar?

Whether a terrible coincidence or not, Tom Coughlin has seen both his stints as an NFL head coach soar to terrific heights before plateauing at mediocrity.

And the same can now be said for his time as the Jaguars’ Exec. Vice President.