One of the biggest decisions of Shad Khan’s tenure as owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars will be made in the coming weeks. Who will he choose to lead his front office into the future and also decide on the next head coach, quarterback and high profile picks and signings?
Khan has hired two different front office managers in his nine years as the owner, and his track record is less than stellar, to say the least. Former general manager Dave Caldwell, sacked after a week 11 loss to the Cleveland Browns, had served in his role for nearly eight seasons but had a 39-87 record for general manager.
Meanwhile, front office manager Tom Coughlin had a three-year reign of terror during which he alienated some of the team’s best players and made several swings and mistakes in the quarterback position. There is no question that Khan’s third attempt at finding the right architect for his team must be a marked improvement over his last two attitudes.
While Khan cannot officially interview executives currently employed on other teams until the end of the regular season, he can speak to those who are not currently affiliated with a club. This is a broad pool of candidates that includes Scott Pioli, Louis Riddick, Daniel Jeremiah, and others.
Among those Khan can speak to starting today is another former general manager who spent the last season outside the league but has a lot of experience and wins on his résumé: former Chiefs and Browns general manager John Dorsey.
Dorsey was fired as general manager of the Browns at the end of the 2019 season following the Freddie Kitchens debacle, but the former front office head has an interesting track record and experience that will likely appeal to owners across the league.
Even after his failure in Cleveland, should the Jaguars be interested in hiring Dorsey to repair their ship? We take a look at the pros and cons.
While Dorsey comes with a bit of baggage after the recent layoffs, there’s plenty of evidence on his résumé that he could be a solid job for the right franchise. What he brings to the table has real advantages and disadvantages that leads to the question of whether the risk is worth the potential award.
His first draft in Kansas City was filled with failures after the first two rounds, but he put highly skilled talent on the offensive against Eric Fisher and Travis Kelce in the first two rounds. He would also bring key chiefs to Kansas City through the draft or the free agency, such as Marcus Peters, Tyreek Hill, Mitchell Schwartz, Mitch Morse, Chris Jones, Dee Ford, and Kareem Hunt.
In Cleveland, Dorsey played a major role in drafting or taking over Nick Chubb, Denzel Ward, Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr., Sheldon Richardson, and Wyatt Teller. Most of the best players on each team have been taken over by Dorsey, with only a few notable exceptions.
It should be noted that Dorsey’s actual hit rate wasn’t really that high. His designs included several homers with many types. But his home runs paid off in greater ways than many others, which an owner might always be interested in.
Then there is the quarterback position. How much credit Dorsey will earn if the Chiefs select Patrick Mahomes has always been questionable, but Terez Paylor has on Yahoo! Sports that detailed how the Chiefs explored and acquired Mahomes.
“To get Mahomes, Dorsey, the guy who actually did the work on the phones, had to get creative. The Chiefs voted in 27th and, thanks to the league-wide connections of Reid, Dorsey and Veach, they knew a handful of other teams were as interested in Mahomes as they were in them, “wrote Paylor.
The Chiefs would end up winning the Mahomes sweepstakes against other interested teams like the New Orleans Saints and the Arizona Cardinals and finishing No. 27 overall, a third round selection and their selection in the 2018 first round against the Buffalo Bills Exchange to level up to # 10 to select Mahomes.
Dorsey and Kansas City parted ways before Mahomes ever snapped a snapshot with the Chiefs, but he was a big part of the Chiefs who were actually able to select Mahomes.
Dorsey was leading Cleveland’s front office in 2018 when they picked Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick. Mayfield hasn’t always reached # 1 overall winner status, but he’s a solid quarterback for a 9-3 squad. Josh Allen turned out to be a better prospect and Lamar Jackson won the MVP last year, so it’s hard to say Mayfield was a perfect pick. However, Dorsey seemed to be making the right call when selecting Mayfield over Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold.
It remains to be seen if Dorsey is a Class A quarterbacks grader, but the fact that he has played a key role in rating two first-round quarterbacks over the past four years. One of those picks is the most talented player in the NFL and the other is at least a usable passerby. The fact that the Jaguars also have to pick a quarterback early on could always play a role this year.
Finally, there is the Eric Bieniemy factor. Dorsey was with the Chiefs at the same time that Bieniemy was advancing on Andy Reid’s coaching staff, and there could always be a chance the two come as a potential pairing.
Bieniemy, the Kansas City offensive coordinator, is considered by many to be the best coaching candidate for this year’s cycle. If snapping Dorsey means having a good shot landing Bieniemy too, is that a package deal that is easy to say no to?
Even so, Dorsey has some drawbacks as well. He fought with the cap in Kansas City, with the Chiefs always hovering close to the limit of the cap room during his tenure. Dorsey couldn’t put up with a couple of Chiefs who weren’t his draft picks, while too often scoring dead hits that hurt the team’s financially positioning.
Then it needs to be investigated why the Chiefs fired Dorsey after letting him pick their next franchise quarterback. Dorsey’s win / loss record was solid in Kansas City, but why should the Chiefs be willing to deviate from him before the franchise really started and became the AFC’s crown jewel?
Dorsey helped build a winning team in Kansas City, but the Browns underperformed with him in the lead. Perhaps because of Hue Jackson, it’s hard to attribute the 2018 battles to him, but Dorsey made the wrong decision to shut down kitchens.
The shot ended miraculously when Kitchens looked over his head from jumping. Since switching from both Kitchens and Dorsey, the Browns have grown into one of the top teams in the AFC. Many of their key players are “Dorsey people,” but hiring a head coach is key. If Dorsey Bieniemy can’t land, it would be of paramount importance what kind of coach he could bring in.
There are many positives to hiring Dorsey, but there are a decent number of negatives as well. Whether the Jaguars would be willing to offset these pros and cons remains to be seen, but it should be noted that each candidate will have their own strengths and weaknesses – Dorseys are just more obvious, having been a general manager twice in the past decade .