Trent Baalke

Jaguars Hire Trent Baalke As GM

Now, it’s official. On Thursday, the Jaguars formally hired Trent Baalke as their new general manager.

Trent Baalke has had success at virtually every level of football, notably so as a GM who shrewdly and quickly built an NFL conference championship organization and team,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in a statement. “Trent thoroughly knows the NFL and the dynamics of today’s game, has an exceptional eye for talent, and I know will have excellent chemistry with head coach Urban Meyer as they begin their mission to bring a consistent winner to our fans in Jacksonville.”

Baalke, 56, served as the Niners’ GM from 2011-2016. Roughly one year ago today, the Jaguars brought him in as their director of player personnel. Nine months later, he was bumped up to the interim GM role when David Caldwell was fired. Now, he has the full-time position where he’ll lead the Jaguars’ latest reboot alongside Meyer.

The Niners secured 35 Pro Bowl selections and made a Super Bowl appearance during Baalke’s six-year run with the team. Things cooled off near the end, however, following Jim Harbaugh‘s departure. The 49ers missed the playoffs in Harbaugh’s last season, and Baalke’s replacement hires — Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly — were one-and-dones.

Before hiring Baalke, the Jaguars also considered the likes of Jerry Reese, Rick SmithLouis RiddickTerry Fontenot, and Ray Farmer.

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Jaguars Plan To Hire Trent Baalke As GM

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.

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Jaguars To Hire Trent Baalke

Trent Baalke will resurface in Jacksonville. More than three years after the 49ers fired him from the GM post he held for much of the 2010s, Baalke will join the Jaguars as their director of player personnel, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

The Jaguars are replacing Chris Polian with Baalke, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Polian had been with the Jags since Dave Caldwell came aboard as GM in 2013. This will be Baalke’s first role with a non-49ers team in 16 years.

Baalke, 55, worked his way up the ladder in San Francisco, going from regional scout to GM. His tenure produced notable clashes with Jim Harbaugh and ended with the 49ers becoming the first team to have back-to-back one-and-done HCs in nearly 40 years, but Baalke did team with Harbaugh to lift the 49ers to their most consistently strong stretch since the 1990s. The 49ers trekked to three straight NFC championship games from 2011-13 and came close to winning Super Bowl XLVII.

In 2017, Baalke joined the league office as a football operations consultant. This represents a key opportunity for the former 49ers, Jets and Redskins staffer. Baalke began his career with the Jets in the late 1990s before being a Redskins scout for four seasons in the early 2000s.

Polian was once linked to the 49ers’ GM job in 2017. That job went to John Lynch, who has played a key role in resurrecting a franchise that had endured a steep freefall in Baalke’s final years. Baalke hires Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly went a combined 7-25 between the 2015-16 seasons. A second-generation NFLer, Chris Polian had served under father Bill Polian in Indianapolis during the latter’s tenure there. Chris Polian re-emerged in Jacksonville and rose from pro personnel director to player personnel director during his lengthy tenure.

This hire comes shortly after Shad Khan surprised some by announcing Caldwell and Doug Marrone would return for another season, despite the Jags having fallen far since the 2017 AFC title game. Caldwell figures to enter the 2020 season on the hot set, but Baalke will attempt to help this regime right the ship.

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NFL Hires Former 49ers GM Trent Baalke

Trent Baalke is back in football. The former 49ers GM has accepted a job within the league office, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweetsTrent Baalke (vertical)

Baalke will serve as a “Football Operations Consultant,” a job which is composed of several micro-jobs. He’ll have “an advisory role on game-related matters, officiating, player development and evaluation, and officiating video review,” sources tell Schefter.

Baalke was canned by San Francisco in January after five years as the team’s GM. Prior to that, he spent six years in the Niners’ front office. Under his leadership, the Niners advanced to the Super Bowl after the 2011 season, but that wasn’t enough for him to keep his job after a two-win season.

At one point this winter, Baalke was in the mix for a job in the Packers’ front office, but that never materialized.

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Trent Baalke Could Join Packers Front Office

Former 49ers general manager Trent Baalke could land with the Packers in a front office role, according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, who adds that “speculation” has tied Baalke to Green Bay given his friendship with Packers GM Ted Thompson.Trent Baalke (vertical)

[RELATED: 2017 NFL GM Search Tracker]

Green Bay’s front office could soon be the site of upheaval, as Brian Gutekunst, the club’s director of college scouting, will take a second interview for the 49ers GM job (ironically, to replace Baalke), and is thought to be the leading contender for the position. Thomspon has also been rumored to be nearing retirement, and Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf have each been mentioned as candidates to replace him. Earlier today, Wolf signed a new contract to remain in Green Bay, removing himself from San Francisco’s search.

Baalke, meanwhile, has been linked to another club this winter, as a December report indicated that he could join the Broncos in some capacity after departing the Niners. Having enjoyed a working relationship with Denver GM John Elway as the Broncos and 49ers conducted recent joint practices, Baalke could make for a natural fit in the Denver front office.

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Chip Kelly Eyeing Offensive Coordinator Job

Chip Kelly is out in San Francisco and he already knows what he wants to do next. The former 49ers head coach says that he would like to be an offensive coordinator, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Glazer did not specify whether Kelly was referring to an NFL or college opportunity, but our educated guess is that Kelly is looking to stay in the professional ranks. Chip Kelly (Vertical)

[RELATED: Trent Baalke Blocked 49ers From Drafting Dak Prescott]

Kelly also says that former GM Trent Baalke was working to get him fired for several weeks. Ultimately, Baalke got his way, but both men were shown out the door together. This isn’t the first time that Baalke has swayed ownership to make a coaching change. Glazer says that Baalke was the reason the 49ers elected not to hire Adam Gase in 2015, and instead went with Jim Tomsula. Apparenty, the Niners were set to announce Gase as their new coach before Baalke went to Jed York and undercut the decision. Gase’s Dolphins are getting ready for Wild Card weekend while the 49ers are blowing things up (again) after a two-win season.

This has been a bad week of PR for Baalke. On Monday, it was reported that Kelly and others in the organization were pushing for the team to draft Dak Prescott but Baalke did not pull the trigger on taking him.

RELATED:

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49ers Dismiss Trent Baalke, Chip Kelly

The 49ers have fired general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Chip Kelly, per a team announcement.

“Despite my feelings for Trent and Chip, I felt the decision to change our football leadership was absolutely necessary,” said CEO Jed York.

Chip Kelly

Baalke confirmed earlier Sunday that the team had let him go after a six-year run as its GM, while ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday that Kelly would also exit as part of “widespread changes” for the franchise.

Kelly, unlike Baalke, had neither a long nor remotely successful tenure with the 49ers. The offensive mind took over for the fired Jim Tomsula last winter and ultimately fared even worse than his predecessor, who guided San Francisco to a 5-11 finish in his lone year on the job. Under Kelly, the Niners amassed a paltry two wins – both of which came against the NFC West rival Rams. Kelly’s fast-paced offense was a major part of the problem, as the unit entered Sunday ranked 24th in DVOA, 27th in scoring and 29th in yardage.

Given his struggles in Philadelphia, where taking control over the roster led to his downfall, and San Francisco, it’s possible the 53-year-old Kelly’s days as an NFL coach are over. Kelly parlayed a 46-7 stretch at Oregon from 2009-12 into the Eagles’ head coaching job, which began in promising fashion. However, after back-to-back 10-win campaigns in 2013 and ’14, the Eagles sputtered to 6-9 in 2015 and let Kelly go with one week remaining in the season. He quickly landed in San Francisco, but his disastrous reign in the Bay Area leaves him with a 28-35 mark in nearly four full seasons in the pros. While Kelly denied interest in a potential return to the college ranks in October, that will likely be his next stop.

As for the 49ers, with Baalke and Kelly in the rear-view mirror, they’ll embark on an “exhaustive” search for a new GM and head coach, per FOX Sports’ Peter Schrager (Twitter link). The next regime will take over a club that’s set to pick second in this year’s draft. Further adding to the allure of both positions is that the 49ers should have upward of $85MM in cap room, as Joel Corry of CBS Sports notes (Twitter link).

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Trent Baalke Confirms He’s Been Fired By 49ers

Appearing on the 49ers’ pregame show today, Trent Baalke confirmed he’s been fired as the club’s general manager, accordin g to Kevin Jones of KNBR. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported last night that San Francisco is expected to part ways with both Baalke and head coach Chip Kelly, although Kelly has not yet been informed of his termination.Trent Baalke (vertical)

“It was the right thing to do. This is a class organization,” Baalke said. “You know, I’ve been here since 2005 and I have a lot of respect for the organization as a whole, and the ownership, the fan base. It’s difficult, but it’s the right thing to do.

“It didn’t surprise me,” Baalke said. “We’ve done some awful good things. Some very successful seasons. Unfortunately regret we weren’t able to bring a championship to the Bay Area, which they so deserve. I think The Faithful has been great. Wish this organization nothing but the best moving forward. I do see a bright future for them.”

The Baalke-Jim Harbaugh partnership dominated during the early 2010s, rocketing the franchise to relatively similar heights to which the teams of the 1980s and ’90s soared. San Francisco glided to three straight NFC championship games, came within a Baltimore goal-line stand of winning a sixth Super Bowl title and went 36-11-1 in that three-year span. Harbaugh’s departure after a tumultuous 2014 season marked the beginning of a rapid conclusion of this freefall under the 52-year-old Baalke’s watch, with the 49ers going 7-24 in the Jim Tomsula/Kelly seasons.

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49ers Expected To Fire Trent Baalke, Chip Kelly

The 49ers are expected to fire both Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly after Sunday’s game as part of “widespread changes” set for this franchise, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

Schefter reports both are said to know their time is coming to an end in San Francisco, and the ESPN.com reporter notes meetings about the duo’s fate are expected to occur as early as Sunday night and no later than Monday.

Sources also informed NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport a house-cleaning involving both Baalke and Kelly being fired is likely. Ownership is prepared to eat the rest of Kelly’s four-year contract, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets, and met this week to discuss the roles of Baalke, Kelly and Jed York (Twitter link). Baalke still has two years left on his deal.

York, though, looks to be secure in his position. Schefter reports the CEO, along with executive VP Paraag Marathe, will lead the search for Baalke and Kelly’s successors.

While Baalke has long been rumored to be a chopping-block candidate after six years in charge of the team, a consensus on Kelly had not previously emerged. The coach’s willingness to adjust his accelerated offensive pace and reshuffle his staff — including DC Jim O’Neil — played a role in this decision, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports.

Should the team make these moves, it would mark the first time in 12 years the 49ers will have needed to replace both a head coach and GM. The 49ers did so when they hired Mike Nolan and Scot McGloughan in 2005. That came after the team finished 2-14 in 2004. If the 49ers drop their Week 17 game, it will mark the fourth 2-14 season in the franchise’s 70-year history. It also represents a staggering freefall from Baalke’s early years.

The Baalke-Jim Harbaugh partnership dominated during the early 2010s, rocketing the franchise to relatively similar heights to which the teams of the 1980s and ’90s soared. San Francisco glided to three straight NFC championship games, came within a Baltimore goal-line stand of winning a sixth Super Bowl title and went 36-11-1 in that three-year span. Harbaugh’s departure after a tumultuous 2014 season marked the beginning of a rapid conclusion of this freefall under the 52-year-old Baalke’s watch, with the 49ers going 7-24 in the Jim Tomsula/Kelly seasons.

Despite being hailed for his fast-paced offense, Kelly’s unit has only moved up two spots in the NFL hierarchy, rising from 31st to 29th. It’s a steep fall for Kelly if he’s fired for the second time in two years. In that same stretch, the 49ers’ defense has diminished much further, slinking from the No. 4-ranked unit in 2015 to the league’s worst this season. At 408.yards allowed per game, the 49ers are the only team yielding more than 400 yards per contest.

The 53-year-old coach has not been given much to work with after the 49ers almost completely bypassed free agency and featured a depleted roster. But the team’s win total sinking to these depths after a 5-11 campaign under Tomsula may have nullified belief among ownership the former Eagles and Oregon coach could turn it around.

If Kelly is axed, this will mark the first time a team has fired head coaches in consecutive years since the 1976-77 49ers. San Francisco already holds the distinction of being the only team since the AFL-NFL merger to do this and actually cycled through four coaches between 1976-78 before hiring Bill Walsh in 1979.

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Coaching Notes: Panthers, Bears, 49ers, Jets

After going 15-1 and losing the Super Bowl last season, the Panthers have taken a huge step back in 2016. The team enters the final week of the season with a 6-9 record, and both the offense and the defense rank towards the bottom half of the league in several team stats.

Despite the struggles, coach Ron Rivera indicated that he isn’t anticipating any changes to his coaching staff…as long as it’s his decision.

“Remember, it’s the same group that was 15-1, same group that led the league in scoring,” Rivera told Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “And in the last five years, we’ve had a top-10 defense. So as I look it and break things down, yeah, there’s some things that we have to work on and change. You guys heard me talk about evolving. We have to.”

As Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com points out, Rivera hasn’t stuck to similar promises in the past. For instance, the team relieved special teams coach Richard Rodgers of his duties following the 2014 campaign. Gantt believes that offensive coordinator Mike Shula and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey could find themselves on the hot seat.

Let’s take a look at some other coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Things haven’t gone as planned during John Fox‘s second season with the Bears. The team is looking to avoid their worst 16-game record in franchise history, and blame will naturally lie on the head coach. Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune writes that chairman George McCaskey will likely wait until the end of the season to make any decisions on his coaching staff’s fate. Campbell notes that the organization waited until the 2014 offseason to fire general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman.
  • Eric Branch of SFGate.com wonders if head coach Chip Kelly‘s unwillingness to adjust his fast-paced gameplan could ultimately lead to his demise with the 49ers. As the writer notes, the coach wasn’t necessarily put in a position to succeed with a lack of talent on the roster. However, Campbell believes the coach’s devotion to his gameplan could come up during offseason discussions with CEO Jed York and a new general manager (assuming Trent Baalke is fired). For what it’s worth, Kelly hasn’t indicated that he’s willing to change his ways. “I think we always look at everything on a weekly basis trying to see how we can improve,” Kelly said following his team’s overtime loss to the Jets in early December. “You look at the game yesterday: It’s about making one more play than the other team. It’s not like we’re getting taken to the woodshed and don’t have an opportunity to compete and play.”
  • Jets head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan are expected to receive a “mulligan” from owner Woody Johnson for the team’s subpar performance this season, writes ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini. The writer acknowledges that it’s been a tough year for the organization, but he also notes that it’d be a knee-jerk reaction to fire the tandem after only two seasons.