I’m not a Gene Smith fan, but – for the moment at least — I have to defend the Jaguars general manager.
Jaguars fans chill out. Free agency has just started. At least wait until it’s the fourth quarter before you bring out the tar and feathers.
Okay, Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston, Pierre Garcon, Stevie Johnson, Robert Meachem and Reggie Wayne are off the market and the Jaguars went 0-fer. As I’m writing this it is being reported Laurent Robinson is mulling an offer from the Jags. As for the other wide receivers, did the Jaguars simply not go after them? Were the Jaguars outbid? Who knows?
The most incredible thing about NFL free agency – other than the over-the-top reaction of the fans to every signing or miss – is the amount of information we DON’T know. Erroneous reports fill the airwaves and the internet and we gobble them up as facts as if they were a perfectly cooked filet mignon. Many of those reports are planted by agents, players and teams simply trying to run up the price.
About the only truth we know is that we don’t know what the hell is really going on. Perhaps the Jaguars went hard after Jackson, for example, but stopped when the Bucs’ bid hit $56 million. Don’t you want your team to spend as wisely as possible? (Hey, I know it isn’t our money, but still . . .)
Jaguars fans were, of course, set up for disappointment by new owner Shalid Kahn, who’s learning on the fly about being an NFL owner. From the first time he opened his mouth as the team’s owner, Kahn sounded more like an excited fan than owner. He wanted to create a buzz and he did. Now he has to deal with the buzz kill of not delivering everything his team’s fans desire.
Smith doesn’t do himself any favors in the public relations department with his aloofness.
I’m going to reserve my criticism of Smith in this case until all of the facts are in. A year ago he deserved a passing grade for his free agent acquisitions. While the signees lacked star power, they did help the Jaguars make major improvement on defense.
Early returns this year aren’t good, I’ll give you that, but no one knows what the next few days, even weeks, will deliver. Admittedly, fans are running out of patience with Smith. But a lot can happen between now and next season — and we won’t truly know until then if Smith knows what the hell he’s doing.