The team announced that newly hired general manager David Caldwell dismissed Mularkey on Thursday following a morning meeting with the first-year coach.
"I informed Mike today that he will not return as head coach of the Jaguars," Caldwell said in a statement released by the team. "I know Mike well and do not want anyone to misinterpret the rationale behind my decision. Mike is an excellent coach and I am sure he will succeed in his next stop in the NFL. However, I must do what I believe is best for the Jacksonville Jaguars and immediately explore every avenue possible to turn our football team around. For that to happen as seamlessly as we want, and as quickly as our fans deserve, I feel it is in everyone's best interests for an immediate and clean restart."
"Mike Mularkey is leaving our organization with my utmost respect," Khan said in a statement. "Mike gave the Jaguars everything he had on and off the field, and his efforts as our head coach will always be appreciated. Mike will land on his feet soon. Until then, I wish nothing but the best for Mike and his family."
Citing two team sources, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported that Mularkey's assistants have not been fired, but are free to search for new opportunities. Caldwell told the group Thursday morning the new coach might choose to retain them, but the writing is on the wall. One assistant told a friend, "We are done."
The assumption here is that Caldwell is going to pursue his former college roommate and current San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator, Greg Roman. With the 49ers set to embark on their NFC playoff run Saturday night against the Green Bay Packers, that reunion will need to wait, but Jacksonville didn't fire Mularkey without a plan.
Mularkey himself marched into a tough situation in Jacksonville a season ago. He was forced to coach players picked by the former general manager, Gene Smith. The mandate back then was to make the most out of second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who largely failed under center and has likely worked himself out of a job in Jacksonville. The next coach will exist on the same page as the current front office, and all bets are off at quarterback.
Mularkey was one of the NFL's final head-coaching decisions left hanging in the balance. It's now clear the Jaguars have only begun their grand makeover.