General manager Trent Baalke has made several questionable moves during his NFL career but he’s done a good job of replenishing the Jacksonville Jaguars over the last two years. In fact, you know the Jags are in good shape when “overpaying” wide receiver Christian Kirk is brought up as the worst move they made in the offseason.
Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report drew up a list of regrets each NFL team should have after the 2022 offseason and he thinks the Jaguars might not feel good about giving Kirk a four-year deal worth $72 million in free agency. Ballentine says the Jaguars had to take an aggressive approach to surround Trevor Lawrence with better weapons but he believes that paying a premium for Kirk is “a bridge too far“, noting that his cap hit in 2023 seems excessive.
"The 2022 cap hit is fine. He’s due $7.5 million and will likely lead the Jaguars in targets. That’s an affordable price for a No. 1 wide receiver in your offense. That number spikes to $21.5 million in Year 2, though. Given the $30.5 million in dead cap charges that would come with releasing him, there isn’t a ton of wiggle room for a restructure without getting creative."
Ballentine goes on to say that the real problem is that Kirk might not be “worth that price tag” and points to the fact that he didn’t get 1,000 receiving yards in 2021 despite the fact that he was targeted more than 100 times.
The Jaguars got many things right in the offseason, including Kirk’s deal
A player is worth whatever a team is willing to pay for them, and the Jaguars felt Kirk’s value was set at $72 million for four years. Although it wasn’t a bargain, it wasn’t the disaster it’s made to be. Moreover, it’s kind of surprising that his contract is still getting the spotlight even though many receivers have gone on to ink way more lucrative deals.
The Jags aren’t certainly complaining about the amount of money they had to fork over for Kirk. Back when they signed him, Trent Baalke shrugged it off as the price of doing business and a matter of supply and demand. It’s also telling that this was named the one move Jacksonville could come to regret.
After all, the team’s brass made several moves in both free agency and the draft, and if overpaying one player was the worst one, you probably had more hits than misses and that’s a good thing for a Jaguars team that is undergoing a soft rebuild and has a potential franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence.
While it’s too early to hand the Executive of the Year Award to Trent Baalke, he’s got the Jaguars trending in the right direction. Whether his reputation will see a boost because of it remains to be seen.