General manager Trent Baalke has delivered mixed results during his stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars. His inability to load up on talent last year was one of the reasons the Jags didn't make the playoffs. After a disappointing end to the 2023 season, he should be on the hot seat, but there's a chance he will walk away on his own terms if the latest rumor happens to be true.
Following the conclusion of the 2023 season, Pete Prisco jumped on the Pick Six podcast and said that Baalke could be retiring, "There are rumblings that he's going to walk away but I don't know if that's true... Retire, maybe. I don't know. Who knows? I can't imagine him leaving that job," Prisco said.
While that's far from a report, it's something worth keeping an eye on. After all, Prisco is familiar with the inner workings of the organization, often appearing on the Jaguars Happy Hour alongside Tony Boselli. Earlier in the podcast, Prisco told hosts John Breech and Will Brinson that Baalke has managed to remain in place despite the fact that everybody else is gone.
"Part of the problem is firing coaches and not the general manager. Trent Baalke, he's going to get all over me like he does all the time. He doesn't like me anyway. I don't care. I did radio last night in Jacksonville with Tony Boselli. Somebody flat-out asked, what would you do? They need to make changes to how they build the roster. That means getting rid of Trent Baalke," Prisco said.
Prisco continued, "For whatever reason, [Tom] Coughlin was there, he was there, he stays. Dave Caldwell's there, he's there. he stays, Caldwell goes. Urban Meyer comes in, Urban Meyer goes. He stayed throughout it all. His roster building. They were this year. And yet, look at the roster. This team, by the way, because of his roster building on paper right now will be worse than it was last year."
Trent Baalke joined the Jags as their vice president of player personnel in 2020. He became their interim general manager when Dave Caldwell was given the boot later that year. He then got the position full-time in 2021 and has overseen the last three drafts.
During his stint, he's drafted building blocks such as cornerback Tyson Campbell, safety Andre Cisco, offensive tackle Walker Little, and outside linebacker Travon Walker. He also brought in wide receiver Christian Kirk, tight end Evan Engram, and linebacker Foyesade Oluokun as part of the 2022 free-agent class.
That said, Baalke has also had several misses. Outside of Walker and linebacker Devin Lloyd, the Jaguars aren't getting good production out of their 2022 class. Similarly, they made 13 picks last year but only right tackle Anton Harrison and defensive back Antonio Johnson contributed.
If Jaguars GM Trent Baalke remains, he'll need to do a much better job
It's not a given that Trent Baalke will leave but if he stays, he'll need to do a much better job loading up on talent. Last year, he opted to take a conservative approach instead of continuing to restock the roster after making the playoffs and winning the AFC South in 2022. He had a chance to bolster the interior offensive line and the pass rush but chose not to. Both areas turned out to be weaknesses throughout the season, and they remain at the top of the team's priorities.
If Baalke fails to replenish the roster, owner Shad Khan should then consider bringing in someone else who will. In the past, he was patient to a fault with Dave Caldwell. He cannot afford to wait if Baalke doesn't deliver.
Of course, Trent Baalke should get praised if he manages to right the ship, but if he doesn't he should be shown the door. That's to be expected in a result-oriented business as the NFL.
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