Jacksonville Jaguars rumours: How important is the 2022 season to Trent Baalke’s job security?

Few front office executives entered the 2022 offseason with as much heat on them as Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke.

But does that mean anything for his professional status beyond this season?

The first clues and signs are no, it’s not.

While Baalke has been forced to walk the coals this offseason by fans and national and local media, indications from Jaguar Report this offseason have been that Baalke’s job security after 2022 will not necessarily hinge on production by the Jaguars of a winning season.

Things can of course change; no one expected Urban Meyer to have a 13-game lead as head coach, after all. But for now, it looks like Baalke and the Jaguars need to show improvement after last year’s nightmarish season, which should be almost automatic at this point.

General knowledge – according to a source who requested anonymity so they can speak freely – is that Baalke has not been given a directive that he must win X number of games to keep his job after 2022. So, For those expecting Baalke will be in the playoffs or out of business this fall, expectations need to be tempered.

The Jaguars have made it clear this offseason that they trust Baalke to present a multi-year plan. First, the Jaguars rejected the idea of ​​an executive vice president overseeing Baalke in the front office, allowing Baalke to be as active with the Jaguars’ free agency and drafting as any other general manager.

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“I stand by the idea of ​​bringing in an executive vice president of football,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in a statement when he announced the move this offseason.

“In just over three weeks, Doug Pederson has instilled a structured, disciplined approach that is clearly making a difference in our culture and mindset. I think we are best served at this time by allowing Doug, [General Manager] Thirty [Baalke] and their helpers to take ownership of our path forward. We will continue to explore adding staff to other areas of our football operations to give everyone the best chance of winning.”

Second, the Jaguars hired a close Baalke ally this offseason to be his No. 2 front office along with longtime San Francisco 49ers scout and executive Ethan Waugh Wednesday, the team’s newest assistant general manager. It seems unlikely the Jaguars would have given the green light to a Waugh hire — or that Waugh would even have been interested in the job — if there was an expectation for the seat to be hot in 2022.

Baalke, entering his second season as general manager, oversaw the Jaguars’ 3-14 season a year ago. He also played a significant role in the 2020 front office that brought the Jaguars together 1-15, serving as director of player personnel and ultimately interim general manager in what was the worst season on record in league history. ‘crew.

There was clear and noticeable outcry from some sections of the fan base when it was first suggested that the Jaguars could potentially keep Baalke in place following Meyer’s dismissal last December. Some fans even came to the final home game against the Colts in Week 18 dressed in clown gear to protest the potential move, which was eventually made official after a contentious head coach search.

National media reports suggested for weeks that Baalke’s presence in Jacksonville would impact the search for Meyer’s replacement, a search that ultimately ended with Doug Pederson as the hire and with Baalke firmly in place.

“I knew from the start that I was. I had a vote of confidence from Shad,” Baalke said after hiring Doug Pederson when asked if he knew during the process that he would remain as general manager.

“As we went into the process, I had a plan. There was no timeline to announce the next head coach. We went into it with a very open mind. We had a process. “We stuck to it. At the end of the day, it was about getting it right. I really believe we got it right with Doug. Don’t doubt that.”

James C. Tibbs