There has been much speculation for years that the Jaguars will end up moving to London, England, permanently and Tuesday’s announcement by the team that they’re adding a second London game for 2020 is only going to stir it all back up.
First, the team made the surprising news official on its website late morning Tuesday that they will become the first team to ever have two “home games” outside of the U.S. in the same season,
Full press release regarding season ticket member pricing and London games. ⤵https://t.co/1ZwMN0tw7k
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) February 4, 2020
“Our work to create new sources of revenue to help us improve our long-term outlook and commitment to operating a thriving franchise in Jacksonvillewill continue and never end,” said Mark Lamping, president of the Jacksonville Jaguars said in the statement. “For the past seven seasons, our London strategy has been a game-changer. No single approach, including London, will answer the many challenges that are common with any market the size of Jacksonville.”
Although, we don’t know the exact dates or the opponents, the Jaguars did announce they will play back-to-back weeks at London’s Wembley Stadium in October. That’s when the NFL typically plays their International Games in the U.K. And, this was the case of year ago when the Jaguars hosted the Houston Texans at Wembley.
Interestingly in the statement, the Jaguars announced that two teams on their home schedule won’t be playing in London: the Steelers and the Bears. This obviously indicates that owner Shad Khan and the NFL reached an agreement that, in addition to allowing the league to move two of the Jags home games to London, those two games with huge traveling fan bases that will likely sell out TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville won’t be part of the deal.
As mentioned above, this will only fuel more speculation the Jacksonville will begin playing, as many as half of their home games in London. That is something that had been speculated by the London tabloid press last year in a scenario the team would still maintain Jacksonville as their home base for off-season, training camp and preseason purposes but then split up their eight regular-season “home” games.
Khan, who already owns the English Premier League soccer team Fulham FC, was in negotiations last fall trying to buy Wembley Stadium. That only heightened anxiety that he was doing so to permanently move the Jaguars to London for all of their games.
Alas, officials in England and with the Football Association or “FA” chose not to reach a deal with Khan to sell him the facility. Still the NFL has had an over 35 year relationship with Wembley and the Jaguars have regularly played home games there for the entire tenure that Khan has owned the team.
The move will obviously be met with much skepticism and disdain from Jaguar fans, as they are one of the smallest market teams in the NFL. And, save for the 2017 season where they won the AFC South and a couple of playoff games, Jacksonville has basically had little to no success on the field with Khan owning them and therefore, with only mild fan support because of it.
In the end, it’s all about “the green” for NFL owners and Khan realizes that’s selling more less than desirable home games back of the NFL for them to be played in England makes more financial sense, than playing in a half empty stadium in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars lease with the city apparently currently allows for up to two of the games to be played in another location besides TIAA Bank Field.
Now, we wait to see if Khan will attempt to change that/escalate slowly beyond just two games in future years, or if he and the NFL will attempt to move Jags completely out of Jacksonville?
Certainly, Tuesday’s announcement can only be taken one way: the Khan wants to play more, not less games, in the U.K. And, the NFL is happy to let him start with two next year.
Jaguars exercise 2020 option for WR Conley
Before free agency hits in March, the Jaguars have already begun to put some pieces together for their 2020 roster. And, that includes a big play wide receiver that they intend to keep around for this season.
The team announced on Friday afternoon that they have picked up a contract option on fifth year receiver Chris Conley, who comes off a career year in Jacksonville:
We have exercised the team options for WR Chris Conley (through 2020) and S Jarrod Wilson (through 2021).
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) February 21, 2020
Conley signed a two-year deal with the first year being guaranteed and the second year being a team option. He definitely lived up to the free-agent billing having a career-high season in receptions (47) yards (775) and touchdowns (5) despite Jacksonville struggles.
Conley did develop a chemistry with rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, as he took over for the injured Nick Foles early in the year and won four games to get the team to 4-4. Conley also averaged a career-high 16.5 yards per catch in 2019.
He previously played four seasons in Kansas City before coming to the Jaguars via free agency. In picking up the option Jacksonville will pay Conley $2.3 million for this season including a $445,000 roster bonus. That is very cost-effective for the team in terms of the salary cap can other players they are looking to fit in.
The team must decide whether they will put huge money in front of their top pass-rusher the last three years, Yannick Ngakoue. Ngakoue has 29.5 sacks from 2017-29 with is the most productive three season stretch for any Jacksonville pass rusher in that amount of time. Jaguars coach Doug Marrone and GM Dave Caldwell have to figure out if they can get Ngakoue to agree to a long term deal or will they perhaps use the 2020 “franchise tag” for him, which would pay him around $18-19 million for the upcoming year.
And, the team also can negotiate a new deal with star running back Leonard Fournette, who is about to enter the final season of his rookie contract and is also going to be seeking a huge extension.
Report- Jaguars to hire former Giants coach McAdoo as QB coach
The Jaguars are trying to fix things offensively and especially, at the quarterback position. And, to that end, they have apparently settled on another hire, involving another former NFL head coach to lead their QB room.
ESPN Giants reporter Jordan Raanan reported Tuesday night the Jacksonville is hiring former New York Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, to be their quarterback coach:
Ben McAdoo is being hired as the Jaguars quarterbacks coach, per source. The former Giants coach is back in after two years out of the NFL. McAdoo has worked well with Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning in his previous stints.
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) February 12, 2020
McAdoo had been under consideration by head coach, Doug Marrone, for the offensive coordinator vacancy that occurred when the team dismissed John DeFilippo after just one season.
Eventually, Marrone decided upon another former NFC East coach, Jay Gruden, from the Redskins, as the offensive coordinator hire. Gruden, the younger brother of Jon Gruden, is known as an innovator in the passing game.
However, the Jags, including GM Dave Caldwell, were obviously impressed with Macado’s previous work with the Giants and Eli Manning. McAdoo began as an offensive coordinator in New York in 2014 – 15. He was then given the head coaching job, basically at the uriging of the two-time Super Bowl champion QB Manning to take over in 2016.
The Giants finished 11 – 5 McAdoo’s first year as the head coach and made the playoffs. However, the relationship with Eli Manning quickly soured and the team fell apart going 2 – 10 in its first 12 games with McAdoo actually benching Manning late in the 2017 season. McAdoo was fired the week after that benching and has been out of the NFL the last two seasons.
McAdoo will replace QB coach Scott Milanovich, who took over as head coach of the CFL Edmonton Eskimos for later this summer.
The Jaguars still have to resolve their quarterback situation, as they have high price free agent signing Nick Foles, who did not perform well in his first season in Jacksonville. And then, they have fan favorite rookie 6th round pick Gardner Minshew, who did play well at times in relief of the injured Foles and when Marrone benched Foles for the final four games of the year.
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