Following the firing of general manager David Caldwell during the 2020 season, Trent Baalke took over on an interim basis. He’s now on the verge of being retained full-time by the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
A former NFL Executive of the Year during his time with the San Francisco 49ers, Baalke once had a reputation for being one of the brightest player personnel minds in football.
That came to an abrupt end after a series of bad drafts leading the 49ers’ front office with then-head coach Jim Harbaugh. Ultimately, Baalke was fired on New Year’s Day of 2017. All said, Baalke led seven drafts as a member of the 49ers’ front office.
Among his hits as general manager were the likes of linebacker NaVorro Bowman, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, safety Eric Reid and defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. However, Baalke also selected eventual first-round busts A.J. Jenkins and Josh Garnett during this span.
Meyer will have a lot of say in player personnel decisions. But unlike his tenures with Utah, Florida and Ohio State in college, this isn’t a recruiting process. There’s a limited number of draft picks and cap room to improve a team that went 1-15 a season ago.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is almost guaranteed to go to the Jaguars with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. They also have an additional first-round pick stemming from the Jalen Ramsey trade and what’s projected to be the most cap room in the NFL.
There’s a window for Jacksonville to improve a whole lot this offseason. And while fans in Duval might not be too happy about the Baalke hire, he does provide experience.