Jaguars GM Trent Baalke hopes HC Doug Pederson has trust in him

Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke during the NFL combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke during the NFL combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Trent Baalke has done a good job of replenishing the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster since he became their general manager in 2021. However, he refuses to take full credit for the Jaguars’ turnaround in 2022 and instead says head coach Doug Pederson plays a big role in the team’s decision-making.

Baalke told Mike Florio and Chris Simms of Pro Football Talk that he and Pederson share many things in common and adds that the trust level between the two is high.

“Like any relationship, it’s trust and the longer you work with somebody, the easier it is to know where that trust level is”, Baalke said. “I have a lot of trust in him and I hope he has a lot of trust in me. We continue to work at it, we’re very collaborative in what we do. We don’t make any decision off the spur of the moment. We think through it, think about how we want this thing to look this year, and as we go into the future”.

“But there’s a lot of commonalities between us. Where he grew up, and what he loves to do with his spare time, where I grew up, and what I love to do in my spare time. He spent a big part of his lifetime in Green Bay, Wisconsin as a Packer, I grew up not too far from there. He loves to hunt and fish. I love to hunt and fish. He loves to golf, I’m ok with golf”, Baalke said.

Baalke joined the Jaguars as the vice president of player personnel in 2020 and was later promoted to interim general manager when David Caldwell was fired. The organization then conducted a search for Caldwell’s replacement full-time but the job ultimately went to Baalke.

Following the dismissal of Urban Meyer late in the 2021 season, fans petitioned owner Shad Khan to also cut ties with Baalke. However, Khan chose to keep Baalke because he wanted the best people around him. Looking back, it was a smart move. Here’s Baalke’s full sitdown with Florio and Sims.

GM Trent Baalke has stacked the Jacksonville Jaguars with talent

There’s no doubt having Trevor Lawrence and hiring Doug Pederson played a huge role in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ turnaround last year. But Baalke’s impact shouldn’t go overlooked. While most general managers would have selected Lawrence first overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, he wasn’t the only building block the team found that year.

Baalke also chose running back Travis Etienne in the first round and later used a pair of second-round picks on cornerback Tyson Campbell and Walker Little. Campbell is an ascending player while Little has flashed and could potentially start at right tackle in 2023. Moreover, the Jags found a gem in the third round in Andre Cisco, who tumble down the draft due to injury concerns.

Coming off a disappointing 3-14 campaign in 2021, Baalke kept adding difference-makers to the roster last year, this time though, through free agency. The Jaguars went on a shopping spree and signed wide receiver Zay Jones, tight end Evan Engram and linebacker Folorunso Fatukasi among others.

The irony is that the Jaguars might have needed to part ways with Baalke if they had hired Byron Leftwich instead of Doug Pederson. The former wasn’t interested in working with Baalke while the latter welcomed the opportunity. It’s fair to say that if the Jaguars could get a do-over, they would keep Baalke again. In fact, Baalke’s reputation seems to have gotten a boost over the last 12 months, with several executives praising the work he’s done in Jacksonville.

As an old adage says, a little trust goes a long way and the Jaguars have benefited from Baalke’s and Pederson’s mutual trust.

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