Jaguars GM Trent Baalke gets unfavorable review in recent ranking

Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke at the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke at the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

One of the most curious decisions the Jacksonville Jaguars made this offseason was to keep general manager Trent Baalke around even though he was partially responsible for their 3-14 record last year. Patrick Daugherty of NBC Sports isn’t particularly thrilled with the Jags’ choice and wrote about it in a recent ranking.

Daugherty ranked all 32 NFL general managers and Baalke landed at No. 27. Daugherty argues that Baalke opted for the “safe” coaching hire in Doug Pederson and points he points out that the presence of Trevor Lawrence allowed him to “throw money at his other problems“. However, he isn’t sure Baalke’s partnership with the Jags will be a successful one.

"With coach and quarterback set, Baalke threw money at his other problems, lavishing eye-popping deals on Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, CB Darious Williams, LB Foyesade Oluokun and DT foley Fatukasi among others. That’s not the way you would typically do it, but most teams aren’t typically coming off a 3-14 campaign with quarterback set. Nothing in Baalke or Jacksonville’s recent history suggests this will be a successful partnership, but Baalke’s stabilizing spring has at least given this arranged marriage an opportunity to see if there is some love alongside the dowry."

Baalke was named interim general manager when the Jaguars gave Dave Caldwell the boot near the end of the 2020 season. After doing due diligence and interviewing several candidates, the Jags decided to give Ballke the job on a full-time basis.

Jaguars GM Trent Baalke will have the chance to redeem himself

Saying that Trent Baalke isn’t a popular figure among Jaguars fans and NFL executives is an understatement. The general manager is seen as someone who is difficult to work with around the league and his track record when he held the same job with the San Francisco 49ers doesn’t particularly inspire confidence.

But in spite of the baggage, owner Shad Khan’s support for Baalke didn’t wane and chose to retain him even though fans wanted him to move on from him. Moreover, Baalke might have played a role in Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich pulling out of consideration for the Jags’ head-coaching vacancy. And while fans should be skeptical of the general manager, there are reasons for optimism.

For starters, Pederson and Baalke seem to be getting along just fine. Moreover, the Jaguars’ 2021 draft class, which Baalke oversaw, is filled with potential even if you take Trevor Lawrence out of the equation. And if the Jaguars can get immediate results from this year’s draft haul, Baalke’s reputation will get a boost.

Ultimately, Baalke needs to keep replenishing the Jaguars’ roster and if he can help them win games, nobody will second-guess Khan’s decision to give him a chance to prove he can help turn things around.

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