Although the Jaguars have interviewed a few outside candidates for their general manager job, they are expected to promote from within to replace Dave Caldwell.
The Jaguars are planning to install director of player personnel Trent Baalke as GM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). Baalke, who served as 49ers GM from 2011-16, finished the season as the Jags’ interim GM.
Shad Khan made it fairly clear new HC Urban Meyer will be calling the shots in Jacksonville, while the owner will continue to have a strong say in personnel decisions. Jags ownership made a push to sell Meyer on Baalke, according to Albert Breer of SI.com (on Twitter).
In Baalke, 56, the Jags will retain a veteran personnel exec who previously worked alongside a college coach. Baalke hired Jim Harbaugh from Stanford in 2011, and the duo piloted the 49ers to three straight NFC championship games in their first three years together. However, that relationship soured and led to Harbaugh’s 2014 exit. The 49ers fired Baalke after the 2016 season.
Prior to joining the 49ers as a scout during the 2000s, Baalke spent time with the Jets and Washington. The Jaguars hired Baalke in February 2020, and Caldwell’s brief lieutenant will be called upon to play a central role in Meyer’s rebuilding effort — one expected to center around Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars had Caldwell in place as GM from 2013-19, though Tom Coughlin called the shots for three years during that span. Khan fired Coughlin near the end of the 2019 season and canned Caldwell late in 2020 during a losing streak that swelled to 15 games.
Baalke’s 49ers run dovetailed after Harbaugh’s departure. The 49ers missed the playoffs in Harbaugh’s final season, and Baalke’s two replacement hires — Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly — became one-and-dones during a 7-25 San Francisco stretch from 2015-16. While Baalke brings extensive GM experience, he was not connected to any GM jobs between his 49ers firing and this expected promotion. The Jags interviewed former GMs Jerry Reese, Rick Smith and Ray Farmer for the position while also meeting with Louis Riddick and now-Falcons GM Terry Fontenot for the position.