This week, Sunday Splash! arrived a day early, with the multi-faceted story from NFL Media painting Jaguars coach Urban Meyer in an even more unfavorable light. The details of the story coupled with a strange strategy that had the team refer comment to the owner’s personal spokesperson — and the owner’s personal spokesperson saying “no comment” — cry out for speculation that Meyer won’t be the team’s coach in 2022.
After Meyer’s misadventures in Columbus following a Thursday night game in Cincinnati, there was a sense that owner Shad Khan may be laying the foundation for a termination with cause, allowing the Jaguars to avoid any further financial responsibility to the head coach. Among other things, it was believed that the Jaguars had grilled Meyer about the circumstances surrounding his decision to not return to Jacksonville with the team, with an eye toward investigating his version of the events in order to ascertain whether he may have told something other than the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to Khan.
Beyond that, a belief persisted that more problems would arise. Although things died down for a while, Saturday’s report shows that the situation hasn’t gotten any better. As noted last night, the fact that Meyer has motivated enemies in the building who are willing to share various details regarding embarrassing incidents could be even more problematic than the incidents themselves.
Then there’s this. No one really knows what Meyer is making. We heard in January that he wanted $12 million per year. His camp clumsily tried to shoot that down, calling the number among other things “not relevant.” (We still don’t know what’s irrelevant about the salary expectations of a potential head coach.)
The true number could be much lower than $12 million annually. Last week, while trying to compile a list of the eight-figure NFL head coaches, multiple sources pegged Meyer’s base number in the range of $6.5 million per year. While it’s possible that he could earn more money if successful, chances are none of those payments have been unlocked this year.
Although Meyer reportedly has no desire to return to college (then again, no college program has flagged him as a candidate, yet), the explosion of coaching salaries at the NCAA level could put that possibility back on his radar screen.
However it plays out, Saturday’s developments make it critical to monitor the Jaguars as the end of the season approaches. Especially since we’re only two weeks away from the premature launch of the firing cycle, given the new rule that allows teams to get a head start as of the commencement of Week 17 on the interview process — if they either have a vacancy or if the current head coach has been told he’ll be out after the season.