Things can quickly change in the NFL and for proof look no further than Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke, whose reputation has gotten a bit of a boost since the end of the 2021 season, when fans wanted the organization to give him the boot.
Although Urban Meyer was seen as the main culprit for the Jags’ dysfunction last year, Baalke deserves to shoulder some of the blame. After all, he failed to restack the roster and made several moves that hardly had any impact.
While it’s hard to tell from the outside looking in just how much of a role Baalke played in the Jaguars’ acquisitions last year, he, not Meyer, was the general manager, so he’s going to be responsible for all matters related to personnel, whether they’re good or bad.
With that in mind, here are the three biggest free-agency blunders of the Trent Baalke era.
No. 3 Jaguars’ FA blunder of the Trent Baalke era: Zay Jones, WRThe Jaguars had a surplus of cap space earlier this year and allocated a good chunk of it to signing wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. While the former has gone on to become one of Trevor Lawrence’s favorite targets, the latter’s production hasn’t been on par with the contract he signed in the offseason.
A second-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2017, Jones spent time with the Las Vegas Raiders before signing a three-year deal worth $24 million with the Jags. The former East Carolina Panther hasn’t been bad but he hasn’t been great either, hauling in 47 receptions or 417 yards with one touchdown.
That’s a solid stat line but not the one you expect from someone who got paid a premium for his services. The jury is still out on Jones though. While his production doesn’t match his contract, he’s got time to pick up the pace and change the narrative regarding his acquisition in free agency.