In President Obama's recent address to Congress, he said very dramatically of corporate greed, "Those days are over." I think I can say the same of the Jaguars' history for wasteful spending in free agency: The days of Hugh Douglas, Jerry Porter and Drayton Florence are over. You can count on it.
Free agency began last Friday with the most mild of announcements in Jacksonville: The Jaguars had signed Sean Considine to a two-year contract. It was an announcement that caused Jaguars fans to cry out in unison, "Sean who?"
When asked that question, Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith immediately described Considine as a "top character guy." Considine is also a top special teams player whose ability to play strong safety may have been hidden behind Brian Dawkins, one of the best strong safeties in the league for the past several years. At least, that's the hope and should it be accurate, Considine will be a home run signing.
Acquiring Considine isn't going to sell tickets. There's no question about that. There's also no question that spending $24 million on two players in free agency last year didn't sell tickets. Forget about players selling tickets. It doesn't happen. Winning sells tickets. It's the only thing that sustains success at the gate.
Considine isn't going to put the Jaguars over the top, either. He's not the one player this team needs to get to the Super Bowl, no more than Porter and Florence were the two players the Jaguars needed to get to the Super Bowl last season. Get that out of your head, too. Nobody is a player or two away. Injuries make that a fact.
So what's so important about the signing of Considine that it merits this editorial? I'll tell you what's so important: It's symbolic of the dawn of a new day and this is the day for which I have been waiting for the 14 years I have covered this team, which is to say its entire history.
Reckless spending in free agency doesn't get it done. All it does is lead to more reckless spending and further deterioration of your roster and its youthfulness until the day arrives that the light goes on and desperation demands a change in philosophy. Some would say that's when hard times begin. I will tell you that's when hope arrives.
Today, I have more hope for the future of this franchise than I have since I can't tell you when. I'm not gonna tell you the turnaround is going to be immediate. I wouldn't dare lie to you, at least not that boldly. I will tell you, however, that I honestly believe this team's arrow is now pointing up. Why? Because it's doing things the right way.
The Jaguars went into free agency with the idea of signing two or three players. Their plan was to come out of free agency with a net loss that would translate into two or three compensatory draft pick awards next spring. Reggie Williams' recent arrest on possession charges threatens that plan, but the Jaguars believe Khalif Barnes, Gerald Sensabaugh and Mike Peterson will produce the net loss the Jaguars seek.
Net loss? Doesn't sound good, does it? Trust me when I say it's what you want. Last year at this time, the Jaguars were well on their way to a net gain in free agency and it's going to greatly damage the Jaguars' compensatory picks chances for this year's draft.
Porter, Florence, Hugh Douglas, Bryce Paup, Peterson, Reggie Hayward, Gary Walker, Kyle Brady, Hardy Nickerson, Leon Searcy; they were all high-priced, free-agent acquisitions. Some good, some bad, one injured. I'll let you be the judge on a final score.
When you're done, ask yourself this: Did any of those players, or any combination of those players put the Jaguars over the top?
I rest my case.