There's a whole lot of quiet days during the offseason. Days where the best thing you can hope to find is a vague draft preview or a juicy rumor.
Then there are days like today where we get two big fat stories that put a smile on your face and a spring in your step because you know that the long term future of your favorite franchise is coming together quite nicely.
First thing I do every morning is check my RSS Reader for the latest round of stories off the internet. On any other Thursday for the last many weeks it's been the same old stuff. JagNation will have a scoop about a draft prospect, Ask Vic will sarcastically not answer questions, and I'll wonder if anything of substance will happen. We've got quite a few weeks until the draft, though it's rolling ever closer. It's just plain slow.
Then I see this (note, that story is no longer posted), saying that Head Coach Jack Del Rio signed a contract extension and would have a press conference later today to announce the news.
And I smiled, because I knew for the next few years the team would be in good hands. Jack Del Rio, 45-35 as the Head Coach of the Jaguars will be our head coach for the next 5 years, at least according to his contract. Sure, the NFL is a fickle league and something terrible could happen, but at the very worst it's three more years with Del Rio, and I'm OK with that. Owner Wayne Weaver clearly models himself after the Rooney's of Pittsburgh in his vision of stability at the top of the team. Weaver could have given Jack a 3 year "get over the top" contract, or a 4 year deal that says "you're the guy, but not THE guy". But no, it's a five year deal. Tom Coughlin wins the Super Bowl and only gets four years. Wayne Weaver is making a big statement here that Jack Del Rio is his coach and the Jaguars are his to shape and grow.
Not bad for a guy that could have put his career in jeopardy when he dumped Byron Leftwich for David Garrard. You could say that the two of them now have their fates connected. More on that in a minute.
Regular followers of the team know that Mr. Weaver does not speak publicly about his team very often. It's easier to get a straight answer from the Bush Administration then to see the Jaguars owner speaking to the media. But here we are, another ordinary Thursday and there's Wayne Weaver offering his comments about the Jaguars:
Sure, it's largely ownerspeak, they're not going to come out there and say something less than positive, but it's about setting the tone and staying on message, and you can't watch the press conference and not leave with the highest expectations about 2008.
Watch Jack recognize by name the equipment managers and support staff and give them credit for putting him in a position to sign this extension and win.
Just like everyone else, I'd like to know the exact terms of the contract. Unfortuatnly for us, Wayne Weaver avoids the issue:
Five years, I'd bet it's around 4.5 million per year, but we'll have to wait a bit for the details to come out.
One other bit that's not in the Press Conference video but that is in the transcript is this little tidbit about the Collective Bargaining Agreement:
It's a little bit of speculation, but you can see that Wayne Weaver is making his 2008 team with an eye on the CBA horizon. It's nothing worth making a big deal about, but it's clear that he's concerned about what happens after the CBA expires.
On David Garrard:
Perhaps the most important information to emerge from the conference is that Quarterback David Garrard is close to signing a contract extension.
Wayne Weaver Says:
There you go, it'll be sooner rather than later. What that means is anyones guess, but I'd bet it happens sometimes before the OTA's start in May.
What a nice surprise. It was clear that extending Del Rio needed to be a priority, as nobody wants a lame duck coach, but I had honestly let this slip my mind. Too many mock drafts have clouded my brain a bit. Here's a spot of trivia for you to pull on your friends. Jimmy Johnson was the person who pointed Wayne Weaver toward Jack Del Rio when he was looking for a new coach.
I'll be back later with our preseason schedule and some other odds and ends.