No. 1 potential Jaguars scapegoat if things go wrong: GM Trent Baalke
Even though Urban Meyer was kicked to the curb after a disastrous tenure, the Jaguars opted to keep general manager Trent Baalke despite the fact that he was also responsible for their 3-14 record last season.
The decision to retain Baalke wasn’t popular among fans; not one bit. Similarly, talking heads around the league wondered why he got to keep his job even though he doesn’t have a particularly great track record of finding talent in the draft. In the end, the answer was simple. Owner Shad Khan believes he’s the right person to help the Jaguars right the ship.
Baalke spent the surplus of cap space Jacksonville had this offseason and made several splash signings in free agency. Among the players the Jags locked up were Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff, linebacker Foyesade Oluokun, tight end Evan Engram and wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. Moreover, the team’s brass gave left tackle Cam Robinson a three-year deal worth $54 million.
If the Jaguars’ free-agent class lives up to expectations and they make meaningful progress in 2022, nobody will question Baalke’s approach. In the same manner, the front office took a massive gamble in the draft when they chose Travon Walker over Aidan Hutchinson. If Walker develops into a difference-maker, Baalke will look like a genius but the opposite is also true.
John Shipley of Sports Illustrated says Baalke’s seat will probably remain cool even if the Jaguars come undone in 2022. Having said that, Shad Khan shouldn’t rule out giving him his walking papers if the team comes crashing down this upcoming season.