Urban Meyer will experience many firsts during his first year as an NFL head coach. Meyer -- who became head coach of the Jaguars on Jan. 14 and is currently going through his first free agency -- made over two dozen transactions during the first several days of free agency, beginning with the league's two-day legal tampering period.
Speaking of the tampering period, Meyer is not a fan of that period of free agency where agents speak on behalf of their players. Unlike college recruiting, when coaches oftentimes visit with prospects inside of their homes, NFL coaches are unable to speak to soon-to-be free agents during the tampering period. But despite the lack of direct communication, many deals are executed during this period before becoming official when the new league year begins. If teams wait until the start of free agency to begin serious negotiations, they are often left behind.
"Yeah, that was awful," Meyer said of the legal tampering period, via ESPN's Michael DiRocco. "I don't agree with it, but no one asked my opinion. I guess in the old days you could bring them in and meet them, have dinner with them, you find out the football intellect, find out their character. The thing you don't [do], I found out, is call someone who has skin in the game because they're going to not quite -- I don't see honest as a very appropriate [word]. So we did a deep dive. Every guy that we signed, we did. ...
"To answer your question, that was awful, and I don't believe it should be that way. Not when you're making organizational decisions. I'm not sure how that rule came about, but to me that's not good business."
Meyer's dislike of the legal tampering period did not appear to slow him and the Jaguars down. Over the past week, the Jaguars signed a slew of players that include running back Carlos Hyde (who played for Meyer at Ohio State), offensive guard Andrew Norwell, receivers Jamal Agnew, Marvin Jones and Phillip Dorsett, cornerback Sidney Jones, safety Rayshawn Jenkins, cornerback Shaquill Griffin, and tight ends James O'Shaughnessy and Chris Manhertz.
"On defense, the No. 1 need to me is always going to be to build your defensive front," Meyer said. "In college, I expected it to be the top-five in America. In the NFL, I told our staff I expect it to be in the top fourth in the league. We felt it wasn't, there were some good pieces in place, we attacked it, and [we got] four defensive linemen. So that was the place we built, and I believe we're going to be in the top-fourth in the league on the defensive line."
Meyer said he liked "everything" about Brown, who inked a two-year deal with the Jaguars after executing a deal with the Saints. Brown, a two-time Super Bowl winner with the Patriots before spending the last two seasons with the Saints, played for Jaguars assistant coach Charlie Strong in college when Strong was the head coach at Texas.
"I liked the fact that he's a family man," Meyer said of Brown. "He's just a high, high character guy. When you see his size, 320 [pounds], his bend, his athleticism. He's been well-coached already at New Orleans. I'm not supposed to have favorites yet, but he's one of my favorites. I'm looking forward to meeting him"
Meyer said that the Jaguars are not currently planning to trade quarterback Gardner Minshew. Meyer said that he and Minshew spoke at length on Thursday for the first time, and those talks will continue over the next several weeks.
"There's a lot of anticipation about the first pick, but there has been no decisions made," Meyer said. "Gardner has done a lot of good things in Jacksonville."