According to the reporting of Pewter Report and multiple other outlets, the Jaguars contract discussions with Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich for Jacksonville’s head-coaching vacancy have stalled. Leftwich has been the favorite in Jacksonville since the beginning of the process. While many believe he will still ultimately be hired as head coach, nothing is certain right now.
On Tuesday night, multiple reports surfaced indicating Leftwich to the Jaguars was pending. But as the hours ticked by on Wednesday, questions began to arise. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and ESPN’s Adam Schefter claimed that the Jaguars hadn’t made an offer to a coach yet. But multiple local reports, including one from the Tampa Bay Times Rick Stroud, indicated a deal between Leftwich and the Jaguars was down to contract details.
In the midst of conflicting reports, Pewter Report went digging. It seems there is some leverage play at work here. While the Jaguars may be trying to leverage other candidates to drive down Leftwich’s asking price, more than money is at play.
According to multiple sources, Leftwich has some reservations about working with Jaguars GM Trent Baalke. Some have reported that Leftwich even wants Baalke gone so that he can bring in Cardinals executive Adrian Wilson as general manager. Pewter Report can confirm that Leftwich does want Wilson on board in Jacksonville. But the larger concern may be the current hierarchy in Jacksonville.
Reportedly, Leftwich has some qualms about answering to Baalke and wants more control and autonomy. Jacksonville has had ample opportunity and reason to fire Baalke, yet has not done so. That has limited their pool of interested candidates as a result.
Staff Concerns For Jaguars
To make matters worse, Jacksonville may also have concerns about Leftwich’s desired staff. Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson has reported that Leftwich wants Bucs wide receivers coach Kevin Garver and outside linebacker coach Larry Foote on his staff. Presumably, Garver would be the offensive coordinator and Foote the defensive coordinator. Pewter Report can confirm that report, especially on Foote. The Bucs would likely make an offer to keep Garver as their offensive coordinator, too.
That’s a very inexperienced staff that would be running the show in Jacksonville. A first-time head coach, and two first-time coordinators. None of the three would be older than 42 years old. So part of the hold up may be due to Jacksonville’s desire to have input on Leftwich’s staff hirings.
If Leftwich is smart, he’ll hold out for what he wants. It will be challenging to turn down a head-coaching opportunity when it comes. But Leftwich is young and has been remarkably successful in three years as an offensive coordinator. He received his first two head coach interviews ever this month, and more will come in the future. If the Jaguars don’t even think highly enough of him to give him the power to create structure in Jacksonville, Leftwich is better off waiting another year in Tampa Bay.