A new era of Jacksonville Jaguars football began (again) last Thursday when the team selected Travon Walker with the first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. New head man Doug Pederson is now tasked with coaching up a roster featuring several big-ticket additions signed and drafted after the end of the season, but Pederson's No. 1 priority is to make the Jaguars a football attraction as opposed to the circus sideshow it was under Urban Meyer.
Shad Khan would undoubtedly love for his football team to be known for, you know, the football and not kicking players or getting too comfortable with young women at bars. Things of that nature. Khan spoke to USA Today's Jarrett Bell and discussed Meyer's dismissal for the first time since the press conference he held announcing the coach's departure. Khan hammered one point over and over again: it wasn't about wins or losses, it was about working with somebody you didn't trust.
Per USA Today:
“When you lose the respect, the trust and an issue of truthfulness, how can you work with someone like that?” Khan told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s not possible.”
“It was not about wins and losses,” said Khan, whose two coaches previous to Meyer, Doug Marrone and Gus Bradley, posted records of 25-44 and 14-48, respectively. “I think when you know someone is not truthful, how can you be around someone, OK? We had Doug Marrone here four years. We had Gus Bradley here four years. I have nothing but the utmost respect and friendship with them. That’s why they got the time, because it wasn’t a matter about respect or truth. It was a matter of wins and losses over four years. This is much bigger than that.”
It is perhaps concerning to hear Khan implying that he would've kept Meyer aboard if it was just the losses, but you see the point he's making. The Jaguars wouldn't have been anything resembling good last year if Bill Belichick was on the sideline. A team as young as last year's Jacksonville squad needed a steady hand to help develop good habits to eventually win football games. It seems Meyer didn't even do that, and then you add everything else in.
The potentially consequential part of the above article comes after the Khan quotes, in which USA Today reports the franchise hasn't settled with Meyer in terms of what to do with his contract. Meyer signed a five-year deal last year reportedly worth somewhere between $10 and $12 million annually. Meyer was fired for cause, and if the Jaguars can prove it was justified, they don't owe him a dime. But if Meyer's legal team can convince a court otherwise (should it get to that point), then Jacksonville might be on the hook for $50 million going to a coach who will probably be on TV rather than the sideline for the foreseeable future.
That could get ugly. And as much as Khan probably wishes, the situation is not behind the Jaguars yet.