JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars‘ trip to the AFC Championship game and the franchise’s first division title since 1999 was a fantastic achievement for executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin, general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone — but owner Shad Khan is more excited about what’s ahead.
That’s why he added two years to each of their contracts, which were originally set to expire after the 2019 season. They now will run through the 2021 season.
“The decision to extend the contracts of Tom, Dave and Doug isn’t so much a reward for last season, which no doubt was impressive, as it is to recognize their importance to our football team this coming season and for years to follow,” Khan said in a statement on Friday afternoon. “We’re past celebrating the accomplishments of our division title and playoff run, and now it’s time to take the next step. We need the right leadership firmly in place to make that happen, and it’s good to know we’ll have that with Tom, Dave and Doug secure in their roles with the Jacksonville Jaguars.”
Khan hired Coughlin in January 2017. Khan said he brought Coughlin back to the organization he helped build in the mid-1990s because he believed the Jaguars needed a better football IQ. He created the executive VP of football operations position and gave Coughlin total control over all football matters.
Khan fired Gus Bradley, who compiled a 14-48 record in nearly four seasons, on Dec. 18, 2016. Marrone, who was the team’s assistant head coach/offensive line coach, served in the interim for the final two games of the 2016 season. Khan removed Marrone’s interim tag less than a month later in January 2017.
When he announced the hirings, Khan also announced a one-year extension for Caldwell through the 2019 season so the trio could be on the same timetable.
The Jaguars went 10-6, won the AFC South and made the playoffs for the first time since 2007. The team played its first home playoff game since Jan. 23, 2000, and beat the Buffalo Bills 10-3. The Jaguars beat host Pittsburgh 45-42 the following week to advance to the AFC Championship game against New England at Gillette Stadium.
The Jaguars held a 10-point fourth-quarter lead but quarterback Tom Brady led the Patriots on two touchdown drives for a 24-20 victory.
One of the reasons for the team’s turnaround was the construction of one of the league’s best defenses. Caldwell drafted numerous key players on the unit — linebackers Telvin Smith and Myles Jack, end Yannick Ngakoue, and cornerback Jalen Ramsey — and signed what is regarded as the greatest free-agent class in franchise history last March: end Calais Campbell, cornerback A.J. Bouye, and safety Barry Church.
“The success we had last season was due to the efforts of many people, but Doug and Dave certainly played key leadership roles in guiding our team,” Coughlin said in a statement. “They set the tone and managed the process on a daily basis, and we look forward to building on that process throughout this offseason and the coming season.”