The Jacksonville Jaguars just had the worst season in franchise history in Shahid Khan’s first season as owner of the team.
Khan has made his intentions for putting a winning product on the field well known and now that he has ousted general manager Gene Smith, a guy who has been with the Jaguars since the franchise was started, it is time for Khan to make the franchise his own. Smith’s firing was one of the worst kept secrets in the NFL as the Jaguars were only 22-42 during his four-year tenure as the general manager.
The fact that Smith was forced on Khan did not help his cause either. The day former Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver announced the sale of the team to Khan, he also announced a three-year contract extension for Smith despite the struggles of the team. Weaver essentially was giving Smith a golden parachute for his years of service to the team and Khan has no choice but to give Smith at least a season to turn it around.
Now, Khan has his chance to bring in a guy of his own choosing to run the football operations of the Jaguars. He certainly has not wasted any time getting his search started.
Since Monday, Khan has interviewed Atlanta Falcons personnel director Dave Caldwell twice, San Francisco 49ers director of player personnel Tom Gamble and is reportedly interviewing Arizona Cardinals vice president of player personnel Steve Keim for the vacant GM position.
All three candidates have had success as scouts and as personnel directors of teams who have drafted successfully over the last several seasons, something the Jaguars have failed to do during Smith’s tenure. Whoever Khan chooses will have a chance to start fresh with the Jaguars and construct the roster and coaching staff with a clean slate. Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey is still employed by the team, but the new GM will have the choice to keep or release Mularkey and his coaching staff. It would be surprising if a new general manager did not want to pick his own coach, so it appears that Mularkey’s firing is inevitable.
Khan has already put his stamp on the business side of the organization, now it is time for him to put his stamp on the football operations.