Give Jaguars owner Shad Khan credit for realizing it sooner than some, that spending money is not a short-cut to NFL success.
After wasting dollars on free agent resources for a 2-14 team last year, Khan has quickly realized that he might have to “suck it up” for a bit as his team rebuilds under new leadership.
So after the rookie owner watch his incumbent staff give money to wide receiver Laurent Robinson and other wastes of funds prior to an awful season, he said he learned a lesson.
“You look at the teams that are successful and [ask], ‘How did they get there?’ ” Khan said, via Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. “I wanted to verify and get a reality check from some of the more successful teams.
“It’s very, very difficult to win games, and there are teams that are consistently successful over time. Regrettably, we would fall into the [category] of teams who have been unsuccessful. What are the lessons learned? A key lesson learned is you have to suck it up. Free agency is appropriate to fill some holes, but I think we proved last year that you can spend the fourth-highest [amount] and have the worst record in the league.”
As such, new general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley are taking a more deliberate approach, signing fringe free agents to modest deals.
“I like it. I endorse it, and I’m highly supportive of it,” Khan said. “It’s pretty much doing everything the right way.
“One thing I’ve learned in life, you get to the fork in the road and have the easy way or the hard way. Most of the time, the hard way is the right way.”
Of course, that could also signal another long year for the Jaguars fans, as suggestions of long-term building are rarely a harbinger for short-term success. But flinging money around to guys who couldn’t play brought them the same result, so changing course makes sense.