The Jacksonville Jaguars offseason is underway with head coach Doug Pederson tabbing Ryan Nielsen as defensive coordinator. While there was consensus on hiring Nielsen to replace Mike Caldwell, it appears Jacksonville still might be experiencing internal conflict.
After a second-half collapse by the Jaguars, reports surfaced that there were some disagreements between the front office and coaching staff. While Pederson wasn’t in danger of being put on the hot seat, speculation around the NFL was that his relationship with Jacksonville’s brass wasn’t in the best place.
The Jaguars truly imploded late in the season. Following an 8-3 start, Jacksonville was well-positioned to win the AFC South and host a playoff game for the second consecutive season. Instead, Pederson’s team lost five of its last six games, including a 28-20 defeat to the Tennessee Titans in Week 18 that cost a playoff spot
While there remains optimism for the future, especially after the hiring of Nielsen, and quarterback Trevor Lawrence is expected to eventually land a lucrative contract extension, it does appear that one key Jaguars’ official could leave the organization.
During an appearance on the CBS Sports’ Pick Six podcast former Jaguars’ beat reporter Pete Prisco passed along a rumor from around the NFL that general manager Trent Baalke could walk away from the team.
“There are rumblings that maybe he is going to walk away, but I don’t know if that’s true…That’s — I mean, there’s, retire maybe, I don’t know. Who knows. But I can’t imagine he leaves that job.”Pete Prisco on NFL rumors surrounding Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke
Baalke, who turns 60 in February, joined the Jaguars’ front office in 2020 as director of player personnel. When general manager David Caldwell was fired in November 2020, Baalke took over as interim general manager and he’s maintained the role through multiple coaching staffs.
Jacksonville’s general manager was responsible for the decision to draft edge rusher Travon Walker with the first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, choosing him over Aidan Hutchinson. Both the 2022 and 2023 Jaguars draft classes have not provided the team with the depth or starting talent needed to get over the hump.
If Baalker stepped down, it would likely be the last time he’s ever a general manager for an NFL franchise. While that makes it far likelier that he sticks around in Jacksonville, growing speculation among league executives would suggest Baalke might not be working for the Jaguars long-term.