If there’s one thing that Jacksonville Jaguars fans want more than anything, it would be certainty surrounding the NFL team they love. Recent years have been tough since that exciting run to the AFC Championship game in 2017, including widespread speculation the franchise might pack its bags and leave town.
More than any other season in recent years, the 2021 NFL campaign might be pivotal in shaping the future of top-level football in Jacksonville. While the Jaguars have gone three seasons without reaching the playoffs, there is a new sense of positivity following a complete restructure of management within the franchise.
Meyer’s chance to spark Jaguars revival
A new broom sweeps clean, as the old saying would suggest. Wasting little time since his January arrival as head coach, Urban Meyer has now finalized his Jaguars coaching staff appointments. The new-look coaching team combines a mixture of NFL experience with fresh new ideas, especially in the key defense and offense coaching roles.
Next on the agenda will be starting the rebuild of a team roster. On the back of a disastrous 1-15 campaign last year that ultimately cost Doug Marrone his job, per Bleacher Report, plenty of work is needed in what may turn into a complete rebuild of the team. The positive thing for Meyer is that he will have plenty of options at his disposal, including the highly coveted 2021 NFL Draft first pick.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) February 12, 2021
When the 86th NFL draft is held between April 29 and May 1, Jacksonville will have the top choice, which could land them a supremely talented new quarterback such as the outstanding Clemson star Trevor Lawrence. He is widely regarded as being one of the best college quarterback prospects in decades, which has fans in this corner of Florida drooling in excited anticipation.
The Jacksonville franchise has three further picks from the top 50 talents, combined with a total of eleven picks through the entire draft process. This really does promise to be one of the most exciting drafts in years for the Jaguars, bringing lots of variety and choice to bolster the entire roster. There’s also the opportunity to use draft options as bargaining chips in potential trades.
Short-term boost & long-term future
The Jaguars currently have more salary cap space than any other team in the NFL, with just over $80 million estimated to be available. This would imply that Meyer has plenty of room to maneuver when free agency begins. Available at a price of +1200 with Betway to win the AFC South this year, those lengthy odds could shorten significantly if the recruitment of quality additions to the roster goes well during the coming weeks.
While his college football coaching experience is vast and successful, this is the first time Meyer has ever coached in the NFL. The 56-year-old faces an almighty challenge, and one that could shape the very future of the Jaguars franchise itself, both in the short-term and the long-term. Immediate signs of improvement are needed, although laying the foundations of a solid future are perhaps most important.
The Jacksonville City Council surprised many yesterday by voting to reject a $233 million development deal with @Jaguars Owner Shad Khan to build the proposed Lot J development near @TIAABankField.https://t.co/kl85CR6LxR pic.twitter.com/8xWhOtsZRO
— Sports Business Journal (@sbjsbd) January 13, 2021
For some time now, there have been lingering doubts about whether the Jaguars franchise will remain in Jacksonville. Billionaire owner Shahid Khan is right at the center, having already invested heavily in the team, yet without the consistent success or growth he was clearly hoping for. With the clock ticking on the stadium lease, rumors of moving the franchise elsewhere have never entirely gone away, despite his insistence that won’t be the case.
Nevertheless, the looming threat remains and especially after the proposed Lot J project collapsed. Unless he can get alternative Downtown developments approved around the stadium, it would be hard to blame Khan for feeling he’s done as much as he can in Jacksonville. The team becoming successful would go a long way towards alleviating such fears.
Khan remains determined & positive
Regardless of all the setbacks that Khan has faced throughout his ownership of the Jaguars, he appears to remain determined and positive to make this franchise a success. Some owners might have already walked away by now, yet “Shad” has never been known as the type of person who quits easily.
Instead, the impression he gives is of someone ready to double his efforts, eager to build a lasting NFL legacy that is here to stay in Jacksonville. We all hope that’s the case, and for many decades to come.