The Jacksonville Jaguars will fire general manager Gene Smith, but the fate of coach Mike Mularkey could turn out to be in the hands of Cardinals director of player personnel Jason Licht or 49ers director of player personnel Tom Gamble who are the primary candidates for the team's general manager's job, according to sources.
The Jaguars would like to keep Mularkey, but no final decisions will be made until Jacksonville hires a new general manager to replace Smith.
Licht and Gamble each could lure attractive head coaching candidates to Jacksonville if they decided to make a coaching change.
Licht worked in New England with Penn State coach Bill O'Brien and in Philadelphia with Eagles coach Andy Reid, and he has a strong relationship with each coach.
Gamble has ties to 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, a sought-after head coaching candidate.
Licht was a finalist for the Bears general manager job and Gamble will be one of the league's most sought-after general manager candidates this offseason, according to league sources.
In the 51-year-old Mularkey's first season, the Jaguars finished 2-14, the worst record in franchise history.
Jacksonville lost eight games by 16 points or more this season. Not even Jacksonville's inaugural team in 1995 -- a group comprised of mostly rookies and street free agents -- was overmatched as often. Coach Tom Coughlin's rag-tag bunch finished 4-12 back then, losing four games by at least 16 points. The 4-12 record had been the worst in franchise history.
Former owner Wayne Weaver convinced first-year owner Shad Khan to keep Smith last year, and Khan allowed Smith to lead the search for a new coaching staff. So Smith was the one who suggested Mularkey and was the driving force behind decisions to keep several assistants from the previous regime.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.