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Jags owner Shad Khan: ‘Our dream was to get Nick Foles’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan needed no convincing from executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell about pursuing quarterback Nick Foles. When Coughlin and Caldwell came to him after the 2018 regular season ended, Khan pretty much gave them a blank check.

As much as he liked Blake Bortles, Khan knew they needed an upgrade.

“I can tell you this, categorically, that as soon as the season was over, our dream was to get Nick Foles for all the different reasons that have been elaborated before, and it happened,” Khan said Thursday after the franchise’s annual state of the franchise presentation. “I think that’s a critical part that we have addressed.

“… Yes, we wanted to do whatever to get Nick here.”

“Whatever” ended up being a four-year contract worth $91 million with $50.125 million guaranteed. It is the biggest contract and largest guarantee in franchise history, and when you factor in the $16.5 million in dead money after the team cut Bortles, it’s a huge chunk out of Khan’s wallet.

But he’ll consider it money well spent if Foles can energize the franchise the way he did in Philadelphia, where he subbed for the injured Carson Wentz and led the Eagles to a 4-1 record in the postseason and a Super Bowl championship.

“I’m still a Blake fan,” Khan said. “He’s a great guy. I think he did his best, and a year ago [2017] we had great results. To us, we wanted it to work out. I’m sure that so did Blake. I wish him all the best in the future; he deserves it. I think for us, now we have to move on, and he [Foles] was the best one out there.”

In reality, the Jaguars pretty much knew by the end of November that they had to make alternate quarterback plans. Coach Doug Marrone benched Bortles after the Jaguars’ 24-21 loss at Buffalo — the game in which Leonard Fournette was ejected after leaving the bench and getting into a fight — and went with backup Cody Kessler.

The Jaguars managed just two offensive touchdowns in their final five games. Bortles started the season finale against Houston and the offense managed just 119 yards — 2 yards shy of the franchise record set in 2012 against Houston.

That capped a 5-11 season, the seventh time in the last eight seasons the Jaguars have lost at least 11 games. It came one year after the team reached the AFC Championship Game. Injuries, especially along the offensive line and at tight end, were one of the major reasons for the team’s problems.

Khan opted to retain Coughlin, Caldwell and Marrone and said in a statement after the loss to Houston that there were far too many long Sundays in 2018 and “that cannot repeat itself in 2019.” Khan did not elaborate on his specific expectations then and he didn’t again on Thursday, but it’s clear that the Jaguars need to be in the playoff hunt in December.

“I think we want to be competitive and we want to be in the postseason,” Khan said. “I think that was the goal last year; obviously we didn’t do it. The year before [2017], we kind of overachieved in a good way. You have to move in the direction of winning. We have a great foundation, great people, but the results on the field is what speaks.”

Pursuing and landing Foles was first on his priority list.

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