When you look at the struggles the Jacksonville Jaguars have had, they need to do a better job of getting the right people into their front office. The task of fixing today’s Jaguars will fall to Trent Baalke, who is perhaps the most scrutinized general manager in the NFL.
While Jags fans have warmed to him, that was far from the case at the start of this offseason. Fans wanted him to go alongside former coach Urban Meyer because Baalke hasn’t been the best at seeing eye-to-eye with the coaches he’s been paired with. Also, he hasn’t been good at making draft selections, especially with skill positions.
The problems that have been associated with Baalke for years have many outside of Jacksonville doubting he is the answer. Pro Football Network is also not high on him and his subordinates, and as a result, they ranked the Jags front office 26th in the NFL in a recent article.
Here’s what analyst Dallas Robinson had to say about the Jags’ front office spending a league-record amount on guarantees:
General director: Thirty Baalke
Having somehow kept his job in Jacksonville, Baalke set out to fire some money in free agency. The Jaguars gave Christian Kirk an absurd $18 million a year, but offers for Brandon Scherff ($16.5 million), Foyesade Oluokun ($15 million), Folorunso Fatukasi ($10 million) and Zay Jones ($8 million) were almost as blatant. Trevor Lawerence and Doug Pederson will have to pull this franchise out of the abyss.
Although Baalke is far from a perfect general manager, it’s no secret that a team in place of the Jags has to pay too much in free agency for players to want to join them. After a disastrous run under Urban Meyer, which was out of Baalke’s power, that was exactly the case this year.
When it comes to the deals mentioned above, it can’t be overemphasized that Christian Kirk’s deal isn’t nearly as grueling as some make it out to be. The guaranteed amount on the contract is $37 million, which will be paid for the first two years (with a small supplement). So basically fans should consider it a two-year deal if he doesn’t make it, but if he does, there won’t be any harm.
Kirk’s ability should not be underestimated either. He could very well be a 1,000 yard receiver considering he’s not fighting for targets with players like DeAndre Hopkins and AJ Green. To be fair, he failed to do that last season (982 yards) with both players playing in a combined 16 games.
Like Kirk’s deal, many of the other deals mentioned above also don’t hurt the Jags in the long run.
As for the front office, it seems Robinson based his rankings on how he feels about the Jags’ decisions lately. From the outside, they won’t impress anyone looking at the names they’ve chosen, but that doesn’t mean they won’t pan out and a lot of people will end up respecting them.
While the Jags have paid a lot of money to players who aren’t necessarily Pro Bowlers, they have plenty of defensive players who could help them better compete against offenses in their division, which is where the run game is put forward. That said, they could have a low-key free agency class that shines in the end that will help them improve their AFC South record in a noticeable way.