Jaguars’ decision to Trent Baalke not popular, deserves benefit of doubt

Carlos Sanchez
General Manager Trent Baalke of the Jacksonville Jaguars ​at TIAA Bank Field. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
General Manager Trent Baalke of the Jacksonville Jaguars ​at TIAA Bank Field. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /
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Jacksonville Jaguars
San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke on January 20, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Jaguars GM Trent Baalke has a questionable track record at the helm.

All it takes is a look around social media to know the news the Jaguars were keeping Baalke weren’t well-received, and rightfully so. Instead of starting over, the organization only got rid of Urban Meyer, and Baalke’s presence could limit the number of potential candidates that may be interested in the head coaching gig in Jacksonville.

Baalke’s tenure in San Francisco started out well. He hired Jim Harbaugh as the head coach and the pair quickly turned the Niners into a contender, making the NFC Championship game for three straight seasons. However, Baalke and Harbaugh often clashed, their relationship became strained and the former ended up winning a power struggle.

Baalke couldn’t find an adequate replacement for Harbaugh and ended up hiring Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly in back-to-back years. While it’s a good thing he didn’t double down on his mistake of hiring Tomsula, having three head coaches in as many seasons is the kind of decision that will get you on the unemployment line sooner than you can say draft bust. You could make the case Harbaugh was his only good hire and they constantly butted heads, so his ability to work with others may be put into question.

Also, there’s Baalke’s draft acumen. He had many bad drafts and all the players that helped the 49ers reach the NFC Championship were acquired before he was the general manager. He often took a flyer on players coming back from injuries such as running back Marcus Lattimore and more often than not, the gamble didn’t pan out. Once Harbaugh left and the Niners’ talent pool dried up, Baalke couldn’t win.