The Jacksonville Jaguars have hired Trent Baalke as the franchise’s general manager, the club announced Thursday. Baalke has been serving as the team’s interim general manager since November 29, after former General Manager Dave Caldwell was fired following the team’s 10th straight loss.
Baalke is the team’s third executive to hold the title of General Manager and sixth overall executive to be put in charge of the roster.
“Trent Baalke has had success at virtually every level of football, notably so as a general manager who shrewdly and quickly built an NFL conference championship organization and team,” Jaguars Owner Shad Khan said. “That experience inspired us to recruit Trent to Jacksonville a year ago to serve as our director of player personnel and is one of many reasons why we are naming Trent as the new general manager of the Jacksonville Jaguars."
The long time executive has been a part of NFL front offices since 1998 in a variety of roles. He began his career with the New York Jets as a personnel scout before moving on to a scouting role with the Washington Football Team. In 2005, Baalke joined the San Francisco 49ers for a career that would eventually span 12 seasons.
Baalke’s time with the 49ers began in the scouting office before being promoted to Director of Player Personnel and then Vice President of Player Personnel. In 2011, Baalke was named the San Francisco General Manager, a title he would hold for six seasons.
The Jaguars hired former Florida and Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer on January 14, 2021, to become the club’s sixth head coach. This will be Meyer’s first foray into the NFL. Baalke has worked in much the same situation before, his first season as the 49ers GM when he began working with first time NFL head coach Jim Harbaugh.
The duo helped lead the 49ers to three straight NFC Championship game appearances, with a win in the 2012 season that sent the team to the Super Bowl where they fell to the Baltimore Ravens. Despite the success, losing Harbaugh as a head coach has become a cloud over Baalke’s career.
After three seasons, Harbaugh and the 49ers agreed to “mutually” part ways, but Harbaugh—who returned to the college ranks as the coach of the Michigan Wolverines—later stated that wasn’t the case.
Regardless, Baalke and the 49ers looked to bounce back; but after three lackluster seasons, Baalke was let go along with Head Coach Chip Kelly. He was hired shortly after by the NFL as a Football Operations Consultant and then joined the Jaguars in 2020 as the Director of Player Personnel.
When Caldwell was let go in November, Baalke’s history and experience made him a natural fit to step into the interim role. His assistance in hiring a new head coach and navigating the end of a tumultuous 2020 season gave Owner Shad Khan an opportunity to see Baalke work up close and therefore, the decision fairly easy according to Khan.
"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," Khan said.
Baalke will begin to make his mark with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency this spring before turning his attention to the April 2021 NFL Draft. His job will be one of the easier ones in the league, as the owner of the No. 1 overall pick and 11 picks in total in draft capital.
“I would like to thank Shad Khan for the opportunity to continue with the Jacksonville Jaguars as the team’s general manager,” Baalke said. “I look forward to getting to work with Coach Meyer and giving Jaguars fans everywhere the winner they deserve. I am confident that our shared vision will lead our team to success in 2021 and beyond.”