The Jaguars drafted Louisiana Tech kicker Joshua Scobee in the 5th round of the 2004 NFL draft. After a piss-poor 2003 campaign from Jags rookie kicker Seth Marler, drafting Josh was the right move.
4145 days later, the Jaguars traded Scobee to Pittsburgh in exchange for a 2016 6th round draft pick. This was also the right move.
A move might make sense on paper, but it still hits hard in the gut.
"This was easily, and I've told this to people in our building here, the toughest decision that we've had to make in our time here," Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell admitted to the media on Monday.
Many long-time Jaguars fans responded to the news with sorrow and gloom, and rightfully so. Josh Scobee has been a damn good kicker in his 11-year tenure with the Jaguars, but has been an even better presence in the local community.
Other fans responded with anger -- this is understandable, especially upfront, but not exactly justified. A perfectly logical and sensible move might leave a bad taste in the mouth of supporters, but it is logical and sensible nonetheless. "It's a business" is the cliché that gets passed around by team officials and local media.
Other fans responded as if they were blindsided by this business move, as if parting ways with Josh was a knee-jerk decision. Frankly, absolutely no one should feel blindsided by the Scobee swap. A few saw it coming, but many knew it was possible.
At some point, the Jaguars came to the conclusion that kicker Jason Myers is the best option as the team moves forward. But this decision didn't happen over night, and it definitely wasn't knee-jerk. The Jaguars reached this decision after a long, defined process.
Caldwell spoke on this process yesterday: "As you guys know, we try to be very process-oriented so we wanted the process to play out. It played out and we were fortunate. Unfortunate for Pittsburgh, they had a need. Fortunate for us, they did. It was a win-win for Pittsburgh; they got a veteran kicker and a very good kicker and we got a pick that we can use to build this franchise with."
Jason Myers has been steady through training camp and three preseason games. Still, rational thought might lead a fan to wonder why the Jaguars would ditch an established veteran in favor of an unknown player at this point in the Jaguars' race to maturation.
There are several reasons and explanations, but perhaps the best way to sum it up is as such -- it is just time.
With Scobee's contract expiring next year, a kicker-needy trading partner, and a young talent waiting to step up in Scobee's absence, the Jaguars pulled the trigger and have no plans to second-guess their decision.
Missed opportunities are sure to arise, but Caldwell carries no capacity for buyer's remorse.
"I'm not going to hang on every missed kick because I promise you he's not going to make them all. Although I would like it, very few have gone 100 percent in an NFL season. So, there will be missed opportunities."
It's worth noting that Scobee has had his share of missed opportunities as well, many of them taking place very recently. Still, Scobee has always maintained a connection to a fanbase that reached through and beyond the game of football itself. Through many years of turbulence and uncertainty, the Jaguars' franchise kicker remained an established beacon of consistency and one of the core faces of the franchise. Scobee was a known quantity and a familiar face.
Suddenly, the Jaguars' franchise kicker is unknown and unfamiliar. And that might scare a few people.
But this is the move, this was the time to do it, and the Jaguars will continue to move forward.
"We went through the process and the process identified it as Jason being our kicker this year," Caldwell plainly stated at the podium on Monday. "We took in all the evidence, we took in all the evaluations, and then this is what it was and we're going to go with it and see how it goes."