Looking at the difficulties the Jacksonville Jaguars have had, they need to do a better job of finding the right people in their front office. The task of repairing the current Jaguars will fall to Trent Baalke, who is arguably the most picky general manager in the NFL.
While Jags fans warmed to him, things were far from the same at the start of this offseason. Fans wanted him to leave along with former coach Urban Meyer because Baalke wasn’t the best at communicating with the coaches he worked with. Also, he wasn’t good at draft picking, especially in skillful positions.
The problems that have been associated with Baalke for years make many outside of Jacksonville doubt that he is the answer. Pro Football Network is also not happy with him and those who report to him, and as a result in a recent article, they ranked the Jags front office 26th in the NFL..
Here’s what analyst Dallas Robinson had to say about the Jags front office spending a league-record amount of money in terms of guarantees:
26) Jacksonville Jaguars
General Manager: Trent Baalke
Having somehow kept his job in Jacksonville, Baalke started setting fire to the money as a free agent. The Jaguars were giving Christian Kirk an absurd $18 million a year, but deals with Brandon Scherff ($16.5 million), Foisade Oluokun ($15 million), Folorunso Fatukasi ($10 million) and Zay Jones ($8 million) were almost as egregious. It’s up to Trevor Lawrence and Doug Pederson to pull this franchise out of the abyss.
While Baalke is far from the perfect general manager, it’s no secret that a team in Jags’ shoes must overpay for free will in order for players to want to join them. After a disastrous run under Urban Meyer, who was out of Baalke’s control, that’s exactly what happened this year.
With regards to the deals mentioned above, it cannot be stressed enough that Christian Kirk’s deal is not as outrageous as some make it out to be. The guaranteed amount under the contract is $37 million. which will be paid during the first two years (with a small premium). So basically the fans should look at this as a two year deal if he doesn’t work out, but if he does, there’s no harm done.
Kirk’s abilities shouldn’t be underestimated either. He could very well be a 1,000-yard receiver considering he doesn’t fight for goals with the likes of DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green. To be fair, he missed that 982 yards last season when both players played a total of 16 games.
Like Kirk’s deal, many of the other deals mentioned above won’t hurt the Jags in the long run either.
As far as the front office goes, it looks like Robinson based his rankings on how he felt about the Jags’ decisions lately. From the outside looking in, they won’t surprise anyone by looking at the names they picked up, but that doesn’t mean they won’t justify themselves and make a lot of people end up respecting them.
While the Jags paid a lot of money to players who weren’t necessarily professional bowlers, they had plenty of defenders who could help them better deal with offense in their division, where the emphasis is on the run. However, they may have a low-key free agent class that shines in the end and will help them improve their performance in the AFC South significantly.