Jaguars finalizing deal with Urban Meyer for head coach job, source confirms

Urban Meyer spotted exiting a plane at Cecil Field Airport Thursday afternoon

John Reid
Florida Times-Union
FILE - In this April 14, 2018, file photo, Ohio Setate coach Urban Meyer watches the NCAA college football team's spring game in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State has placed Meyer on paid administrative leave while it investigates claims that his wife knew about allegations of abuse against an assistant coach years before he was fired last week. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Jacksonville Jaguars reached a deal with Urban Meyer to become the team's new head coach. Click here for more.

The Jaguars are working toward finalizing a deal for Urban Meyer to be their next head coach, an NFL source told the Florida Times-Union on Thursday morning.  

As of Thursday afternoon, the Jaguars did not have a news conference scheduled yet to introduce Meyer.

Times-Union news partner First Coast News ran a photo of Meyer exiting a private plane Thursday afternoon at Cecil Field Airport in Jacksonville. Meyer visited the Jaguars team facility at TIAA Bank Field shortly after his arrival to Jacksonville.  

From the start, Meyer has been the Jaguars' top target to replace Doug Marrone, who was fired on Jan. 4 after finishing with a franchise-worst 1-15 record and losing 21 of his last 24 games.

More:With Urban Meyer possibly headed to NFL, will Buckeye staffers follow?

Meyer, 56, is only focused on the Jaguars' job, but the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that Meyer talked with the Los Angeles Chargers about their vacant head coaching job. 

The Jaguars' head coaching vacancy is considered an attractive job, especially with the franchise having locked up the No. 1 overall pick to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. In all, the Jaguars have 11 draft picks for the upcoming April draft, including two in both the first and second rounds.  

The Jaguars also have more than $90 million in available cap space for free agency.

And the Jaguars have a promising young core that includes defensive end Josh Allen, linebacker Myles Jack, running back James Robinson, cornerback CJ Henderson and receivers DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault. Meyer also coached Jaguars starting offensive guard Andrew Norwell for two seasons at Ohio State (2012-13).

In 17 seasons, Meyer has never had a losing season, including his first two years as head coach at Bowling Green, where he went 8-3 and 9-3. At Florida, Meyer won national championships in 2006 and 2008 and went 65-15 in six seasons. He compiled an 83-9 record at Ohio State in seven seasons.

Meyer's career record is 187-32, including going 12-3 in bowl games. His 85.4% winning percentage is the third-best in FBS history.  

Khan is seeking a proven coach to turn around his franchise that's had 11 losing seasons in 13 years. He is known as a coach that's a motivator, pays close attention to detail and fosters a culture that demands accountability from his players.

However, this would be Meyer's first job coaching on the NFL level.

Besides Meyer, the Jaguars interviewed Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, former Tampa Bay Buccanneers coach and Atlanta Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris, and Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.

The Jaguars are also seeking to hire a general manager to replace Dave Caldwell, who was fired on Nov. 29. The franchise has already interviewed ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, former New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese, former Texans general manager Rick Smith, former Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer, New Orleans Saints VP/assistant GM of pro personnel Terry Fontenot and current interim general manager Trent Baalke, who has reportedly been involved with the coaching search that also involves Khan's son, Tony.