Will Dabo Swinney be next Jaguars coach? The case for and against Clemson coach leaving for NFL

Before the Jaguars hired Urban Meyer as their head coach in January 2021, there was speculation about another successful college coach making the jump to the NFL.

Clemson’s Dabo Swinney saw his name appear on the news cycle last year after suggested former NFL executive Mike Tannenbaum that if Swinney decided to leave the Tigers for a professional job, Jacksonville would be a perfect place to land. At the time, the Jaguars were well positioned for a rebuild with plenty of draft picks and salary cap space, not to mention the possibility of signing Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

When asked about the rumors, Swinney laughed at the idea of ​​leaving clemson, saying, “I’m not worried about the AFC or the NFC. I don’t even know what they are.”

Now that Jacksonville once again has a chance after firing Meyer, could Swinney reconsider his stance? Would the Jaguars want to get back on the road from college to the pros after a disastrous stretch?

Dabo Swinney’s case as Jaguars head coach

Let’s start with an obvious point in the “for” column: Trevor Lawrence.

The 22-year-old struggled with Meyer, throwing nine touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 13 games, but it would be unfair to put all of the Jaguars’ troubles at the rookie’s feet. In the midst of a lost season, he has displayed the talent that made him one of the most productive college quarterbacks in recent memory. Swinney could take elements of Clemson’s offense and bring them to Jacksonville to help Lawrence become a great quarterback.

However, a change would not be just about what is happening with the Jaguars. It would also be about what is happening at the university level.

Swinney lost defensive coordinator Brent Venables to Oklahoma and offensive coordinator Tony Elliott to Virginia. Swinney opted for internal promotions, which was not unexpected, but could face criticism for those hires if they don’t work out. Clemson certainly had the money to bring in some bigger names. Swinney has set such a high bar that even a small drop in victories could raise criticism and questions.

Additionally, Swinney has to deal with the changing landscape of college football. You have clearly expressed your opinion about the transfer portal and the NIL legislation (name, image and likeness).

“It’s total chaos right now,” Swinney said (via Sports Illustrated). “Manipulation galore. Children being manipulated. Grass is greener and all that instead of putting in work and graduating. There are no consequences. So now you have agents and NIL, manipulation, and you have no consequences. No consequence is the same without awareness. .

“There is no reason to pause, there are no barriers for young people, like, nothing. Education is like the latest now.”

If Swinney believes that college football is becoming the Wild West, would he come out now before more changes come? If the answer is yes, the Jaguars’ job is there.

The case against Dabo Swinney as Jaguars head coach

And now the obvious point in the “against” column: Money.

Swinney signed a 10-year, $ 92 million deal with Clemson in April 2019, the largest contract in college football history at the time. It runs until 2028 and includes other incentives. It also requires Swinney to be one of the three highest paid coaches any season after your team reaches the semifinals of the college football playoffs.

Simply put, this guy is getting paid out. Not only could Swinney’s high salary dissuade him from seeking professional openings, it also deterred NFL teams from pursuing him. Potential purchasing issues and contract negotiations might be enough to end a conversation before it begins.

Then there is the football side. Recent history shows that hoping that a college coach can succeed at the next level is not a great gamble. Meyer, Bobby Petrino, Greg Schiano, Matt Rhule, Steve Spurrier, heck, even Nick Saban had trouble with the Dolphins. And is Swinney supposed to win at Jacksonville? That’s a tough task considering the garbage dump fire that Meyer left behind.

Compare that to your current situation, and there is no competition. Despite a “bad” year for Swinney, 9-3 is a huge flop! – Clemson should be able to compete for conference and national championships in the future. Yes, the landscape has changed, but Swinney doesn’t have to worry about making his way through the SEC to earn a playoff spot. Conference haters like Pitt and Wake Forest had fantastic seasons, but can they be a consistent winner like Clemson? Unlikely.

Put it all together, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear Swinney laugh at another round of rumors before turning his attention back to the Tigers.