Black Monday is here, which means teams across the NFL will cut ties with their general managers and head coaches. The Jacksonville Jaguars already fired Urban Meyer in December but it looks like they will stay the course and will retain general manager Trent Baalke.
Both the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings have wasted no time on Black Monday and have already cleaned house. The Bears moved on from general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy. The Vikes also gave general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer the boot. Not to be left behind, the Miami Dolphins also joined the fun and head coach Brian Flores got the boot.
This would be the perfect time for the Jags to get rid of Trent Baalke but there hasn’t been any news regarding his status. If anything, it looks like he will remain with the team. In fact, he’s partaken in the interview process for their head coaching opening. Not only that, it seems like he’s influencing it, as he’s pushed the organization to target former Houston Texans head coach and Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. His wish was granted, as Jacksonville is set to interview him, per John Reid of The Florida Times-Union.
Having said that, noting is set on stone. Things could change at any time, as the general manager’s presence could deter top candidates from taking the job. One agent went as far as saying the only way his client would interview for the Jaguars’ vacancy would be if he fired him.
The Jaguars must move on from Trent Baalke on Black Monday or ASAP.
Besides knocking the Indianapolis Colts out of playoff contention, the Jags’ Week 18 win was meaningful because fans showed up in clown costumes to express their disapproval of the team’s decision to keep Baalke. On the days before Sunday, fans on social media changed their social media avatar for that of a clown with a mustache. The movement grew so big that the national media took notice.
However, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports reported owner Shad Khan “remains steadfast in his decision to retain Baalke” in spite of the social media backlash. That was a couple of days ago, and it doesn’t look like things have changed. Again, Khan could change his mind but the more time passes by, the least likely it will happen.
Now, Baalke has had his fair share of hits as the Jaguars’ general manager but he’s also had several misses. If that’s not enough for Khan to reconsider his stand, keep in mind that Baalke’s reputation around the league isn’t strong and has previously been the source of power struggles.
Other NFL teams are cleaning house and are looking for a fresh start, if the Jaguars really want to turn things around, they need to take a similar approach. They already went through a lot of dysfunction in 2021. Do they really want more of the same moving forward?