It's just another run-of-the-mill NFL news day in Jacksonville, Florida on Tuesday. First, Jack Del Rio was fired this morning, and now CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman is reporting that the Jaguars franchise are being recently sold (employees were informed on Tuesday morning) to auto-parts mogul Shahid Kahn ... but the team will reportedly remain in Jacksonville.
Oh, and Jags general manager Gene Smith received a three-year extension. So, yeah, nothing much going on in north Florida today.
Obviously the JDR news broke this morning, but before we could even put together a list of coaches who might replace Del Rio, word started swirling that the Jags were being sold.
Kahn, a Pakistani businessman and owner of Flex-N-Gate, will buy the Jaguars after an unsuccessful attempt to purchase the Rams in 2010 when minority shareholder Stan Kroenke exercised his right to match Kahn's bid for the team.
Previously, the Jags have been considered one of the top candidates for relocation to Los Angeles if/when an NFL stadium is ready to be filled, but Freeman reports that Weaver received written assurances from Kahn that he would keep the team in Jacksonville. Weaver wouldn't confirm those assurances in his press conference however and Kahn did not address them in his statement.
|Jack Del Rio Fired|
"I am honored to have recently signed an agreement with Wayne Weaver and his partners to purchase the Jacksonville Jaguars,” Khan said. “I have known Wayne for some time and have long admired his spirit, which nearly 20 years ago – against all odds – helped make the Jaguars and the National Football League a reality for Jacksonville and North Florida. Wayne’s legacy will be lasting, and I will always be grateful for Wayne’s trust and confidence in my commitment to the Jaguars, the NFL and the people of the Jacksonville community."
Shortly after chatter about the sale exploded, word broke that Smith received his extension this morning, and if you think about it, the timing of the whole shebang kind of makes sense.
Del Rio was canned by the regime (Weaver) that hired him, ensuring that the new owner's first act won't be to fire a head coach. Then the news leaks that the team's been sold and the employees have been informed. Whether or not the team will move is irrelevant for the moment, because it's important that the Jaguars maintain a semblance of stability to employees and fans.
The report that states the team will remain in Jacksonville does just that. And, finally, speaking of stability, Smith's presence over the next three years provides stability to an organization that will be looking for a head coach and determining whether or not Blaine Gabbert is the future of the franchise at quarterback.
And yes, since Smith drafted Gabbert in the 2011 NFL Draft, it's a safe bet he stays on as the franchise quarterback. Whether fans like him or not, that news probably comes as a little bit of relief, if only because it means there's some stability in Jacksonville on this hectic day.
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