The Jacksonville Jaguars will start conducting their head coaching search Tuesday, but won’t be conducting a new search for a general manager. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the team will be retaining Trent Baalke and he will be involved with the search for a new coach.
From @NFLTotalAccess: The #Jaguars head coaching search kicks into gear with GM Trent Baalke to be retained and assist owner Shad Khan. Plus, the status of #49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo is now in doubt with a torn ligament in his throwing thumb. pic.twitter.com/3c8mqmgxKx
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 28, 2021
Baalke joined the Jags in 2020 as a director of player personnel under former general manager Dave Caldwell and was promoted to interim general manager last November when Caldwell was fired. When the team named Urban Meyer the head coach in January, they eventually retained Baalke and removed the interim tag on Jan. 21.
The Jags’ decision to keep Baalke is puzzling for many reasons, but the biggest is the lack of talent he was able to surround quarterback Trevor Lawrence with during the offseason. That has especially evident within the receivers group, which needs overhauling (even if DJ Chark wasn’t on injured reserve) and the offensive line could use a lot of help, too, despite the front office attacking both this offseason.
The decision is also one that could affect the willingness of coaching candidates wanting to interview as they basically would be forced to work with Baalke regardless of whether they had a previous relationship or not. Many coaches value the relationship they will have with the general manager because it’s one of the most important in football operations. If the two don’t see eye-to-eye, it could hurt the outlook of the team.
As of now, the Jags are expected to interview Jim Caldwell and Doug Pederson for their vacancy, according to Rapoport. They also have interest in interviewing former Jags quarterback Byron Leftwich, who is currently the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Bucs.