We mentioned in late September that Jaguars G.M. Gene Smith was not under contract for next season, which was surprising and made us wonder what changes could be coming in Jacksonville.
Smith finally confirmed the story Wednesday and added that he turned down a contract extension.
“A contract was extended to me and I declined it,” Smith told Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union. “I did not think I deserved an extension based on the conditions. Our scouts and other employees weren’t being extended. I didn’t think I deserved it. However, I do appreciate that Wayne [Weaver] offered me one.”
Wow. It’s rare to see anyone turn down guaranteed money, especially in a position as tenuous as general manager. Smith’s decision not to extend himself beyond the rest of the team’s employees is both noble and confident. He must have felt secure he’d get a new contract eventually.
“What Gene [Smith] said is true, and I respect his position,” Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver said.
Smith stressed that he wants to keep working in Jacksonville. He knows that’s not a guarantee after the team’s 2-6 start.
“I feel like I work for one of the best organizations. I’ve invested a good part of my life here, but I also realize transition is a way of life in the NFL,” Smith said.
We admire Smith’s decision to turn down a new deal and suspect he’ll survive even if coach Jack Del Rio is let go.
Still, we can’t can’t help but wonder if Smith has made it easier for Weaver to completely clean house at the end of the year.