GM Trent Baalke’s stint with Jaguars has been a mixed bag: 3 takeaways
1. Jaguars GM Trent Baalke will have to work his magic in 2023
Ok, so Trent Baalke’s record acquiring talent in the draft with the Jaguars hasn’t been flawless but how about free agency? After all, Jacksonville has been one of the teams with the most cap space in the league the last two years and they’ve spared no expenses and they have certainly been some positives.
The Jags got sideways looks from executives and analysts around the league for giving wide receiver Christian Kirk a top-market contract but he’s quickly become an important piece of their offense, so it’s fair to say that their investment paid off. Similarly, Marvin Jones Jr. has been a key contributor over the last two years. Last but not least, re-signing defense end Dawuane Smoot has proven to be a wise decision.
On the other hand, Baalke hasn’t gotten enough bang for the buck. Zay Jones has been an adequate addition to the wide receiver corps but his production is on par with the three-year contract worth $24 million he signed earlier this year. Cornerback Shaquill Griffin hasn’t lived up to his contract and could be on his way out next year. But he won’t be the only player that will walk next year.
The Jaguars are set to enter the offseason with $4 million over the cap, so the Jaguars won’t likely be able to bring back Smoot, tight end Evan Engram, right tackle Jawaan Taylor, all of whom are set to be free agents. Moreover, Baalke might need to release a few players and restructure a few contracts to get out of the read.
This means that Jacksonville could have a limited budget in free agency and might not be able to pursue the top players available, which could in turn lead them to look for bargains. Without much cap space to replenish the roster, Baalke will need to ace the draft, and if he doesn’t, Khan will then need to reconsider his employment status.