Before the Jaguars employed Urban Meyer as their head coach in January 2021, there was hypothesis about one other profitable school coach making the leap to the NFL.
Clemson’s Dabo Swinney noticed his title popping up within the information cycle final 12 months after former NFL executive Mike Tannenbaum suggested that, if Swinney determined to go away the Tigers for knowledgeable job, Jacksonville would be an ideal touchdown spot. At the time, the Jaguars had been well-positioned for a rebuild with loads of draft picks and cap room, to not point out the potential for touchdown Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
When requested in regards to the rumors, Swinney laughed off the idea of leaving Clemson, saying, “I’m not anxious in regards to the AFC or NFC. I do not even know what they’re.”
Now that Jacksonville as soon as once more has a gap after firing Meyer, may Swinney rethink his stance? Would the Jaguars wish to go down the college-to-pros street once more after a disastrous stretch?
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The case for Dabo Swinney as Jaguars head coach
Let’s begin with an apparent level within the “for” column: Trevor Lawrence.
The 22-year-old struggled beneath Meyer, throwing 9 touchdowns and a league-high 14 interceptions in 13 video games, however it could be unfair to position the entire Jaguars’ struggles on the rookie’s ft. Amid a misplaced season, he has flashed the expertise that made him one of the productive school quarterbacks in current reminiscence. Swinney may take parts from the Clemson offense and convey them to Jacksonville to assist Lawrence develop right into a prime QB.
A change would not simply be about what is going on with the Jaguars, although. It would additionally be about what is going on on the school stage.
Swinney misplaced defensive coordinator Brent Venables to Oklahoma and offensive coordinator Tony Elliott to Virginia. Swinney selected to go together with inside promotions, which wasn’t surprising, however he may face criticism for these hires if they do not work out. Clemson definitely had the cash to herald some greater names. Swinney has set such a excessive bar that even a slight drop in wins may spark criticism and questions.
Additionally, Swinney has to cope with the evolving school soccer panorama. He has clearly said his opinion on the switch portal and NIL (title, picture and likeness) laws.
“It’s complete chaos proper now,” Swinney stated (via Sports Illustrated). “Tampering galore. Kids being manipulated. Grass is greener and all that stuff versus placing the work in and graduating. There’s no penalties. So now you’ve got bought brokers and NIL, tampering, and you don’t have any penalties. No penalties equals no conscience.
“There’s no cause for pause, no barrier for younger folks, like, nothing. Education is like the very last thing now.”
If Swinney believes school soccer is popping into the wild west, would he bail now earlier than extra adjustments arrive? If the reply is sure, the Jaguars job is sitting proper there.
The case against Dabo Swinney as Jaguars head coach
And now the plain level within the “against” column: Money.
Swinney signed a 10-year, $92 million deal with Clemson in April 2019, the most important contract in school soccer historical past at the moment. It runs by 2028 and contains different incentives. It additionally requires that Swinney is one of the three highest-paid coaches any season after his group reaches the College Football Playoff semifinals.
Simply put, this man is getting paid. Swinney’s excessive wage couldn’t solely dissuade him from pursuing any professional openings, but in addition dissuade NFL groups from pursuing him. The potential buyout points and contract negotiations may be sufficient to finish a dialog earlier than it begins.
Then, there’s the soccer facet of issues. Recent historical past reveals that hoping a school coach can discover success on the next stage is not an ideal wager. Meyer, Bobby Petrino, Greg Schiano, Matt Rhule, Steve Spurrier — heck, even Nick Saban struggled with the Dolphins. And Swinney is meant to win in Jacksonville? That’s a tall process contemplating the dumpster hearth Meyer left behind.
Compare that with his present scenario, and it is a no-contest. Despite a “down” 12 months for Swinney — 9-3 is such a failure! — Clemson ought to be positioned to contend for convention and nationwide championships sooner or later. Yes, the panorama has shifted, however Swinney does not have to fret about clawing his approach by the SEC to earn a playoff spot. Conference foes reminiscent of Pitt and Wake Forest had terrific seasons, however can they be a constant winner like Clemson? Unlikely.
Put all of it collectively, and it would not be a shock to listen to Swinney laughing off one other spherical of rumors earlier than turning his focus again to the Tigers.