Urban Meyer Criticizes NFL Free Agency System: 'That's Not Good Business"

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIMarch 19, 2021

FILE - Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, right, holds the trophy after the team's 28-23 win over Washington in the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game in Pasadena, Calif., in a Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, file photo. A person familiar with the search says Urban Meyer and the Jacksonville Jaguars are working toward finalizing a deal to make him the team's next head coach. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, because a formal agreement was not yet in place. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

New Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer isn't enjoying his first free agency period in the NFL.

The longtime NCAA coach was taken aback by the difference between free agency in the pros and recruiting at the college, namely that he is expected to sign players without meeting them first in order to be competitive during the legal tampering period.

"I'm not sure how that rule came about, but to me that's not good business," he said, per Michael DiRocco of ESPN. 

The Jaguars have signed 11 free agents thus far, and Meyer seemed to prioritize existing relationships as he built his first NFL roster. Running back Carlos Hyde played under Meyer at Ohio State from 2010-13, and his staff "had some connection" to six of those players, per DiRocco. 

Even for the players he had no link to, he checked in with other sources to get information on players like safety Rayshawn Jenkins, DiRocco said. He spoke to former Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Louis Murphy, who Meyer said may be joining the Jaguars staff.

Meyer may have an easier time when the NFL draft comes around, considering his familiarity with the college football scene—and his success in recruiting. In ESPN's recruiting rankings, Meyer never had a class ranked lower than No. 7 in the country, and he has placed two recruiting classes above the rest of NCAA, per DiRocco. 

The Jaguars are largely expected to take Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence off of the board with the No. 1 pick, and Meyer has done his due diligence on his pick, having attended Lawrence's Pro Day in February. 

"I don’t know how you evaluate a quarterback without [seeing him in person]," he said, per Owen Watterson of Sports Illustrated. "So, I thought he did great. We’ve had a couple of Zoom calls with him and he’s been great, and we like where we’re at with him."