In his 2nd year as an NFL head coach, Doug Pederson led the Eagles roster to a Super Bowl. In only his second with Jacksonville, he has the Jaguars primed to make a similar run. Here's a few trades Baalke could make to assist that move and some that should be avoided at all costs.
Danielle Hunter - EDGE, Vikings
This is would obviously be the home run trade. The Jaguars would be signaling that they are all in on this season if they pull this off. Having the top two sack leaders on one roster would leapfrog their defense from opportunistic to the best in the NFL. Hunter would change the whole complexion of our D-line as teams could not double him and Josh Allen. This would free up guys on the inside and allow Mike Caldwell to play more coverage on the back if he can get home with four guys. Some say this kind of move would be an indictment on Travon Walker, and Baalke would be admitting to mistakes. That's how losing teams think. Les Snead traded up to draft Jared Goff, extended him and then shipped him off and won a Super Bowl. Do you think he was at all worried about the optics? He wanted to win. Travon Walker is a fantastic football player. I'd argue he was still a better pick than Hutchinson because his dominance against the run is why our defense is so good this year. So use his strengths. Stop the run with him on 1st. Move him inside and let Hunter come in to rush the passer on 2nd and 3rd down. Mike Caldwell's defense is winning right because they're playing to their strengths. Let everyone do what they are currently good at, now what you wanted when you drafted them. And who knows? Perhaps playing next to Hunter will allow Travon to pick a couple extra moves and he'll become that beast on the edge. But for right now, he's a dominant run-stuffer and Hunter could come in on passing downs and dominate. As far as compensation goes, it might cost us a 1st rounder just to rent him. Perhaps we can get the Vikings to thrown in their 2nd if we give them Chaisson and a 4th. In fact, if the Vikings have Chaisson play Hunter's snaps and then let him walk in free agency, they could net another comp pick. A legit shot at a Super Bowl berth is worth a 1st round pick, even if we rent Hunter for a playoff push. With the way Jared Goff is playing in Detroit, some say the Lions won that trade with the Rams. But guess what the Rams have that Detroit doesn't? A Super Bowl Ring. The Jaguars' window is open, thanks to Trevor's rookie contract and veterans playing great scheme on Caldwell's defense. The Bill's missed their window. Don't let the Jaguars do the same thing.
Josh Uche - EDGE, Patriots
This one certainly makes the most sense. Uche's strength is rushing the passer but his weakness lies in run support. By rotating him and Travon, you could get the best of each player based on the situation. Uche is a 2nd and long, 3rd down type of player where the run is not an option for other teams. Uche had 11.5 sacks last year. He could potentially provide the same production Arden Key gave us all last year in the second half of the season. If gets 5-7 sacks, our defense would really take the next step. Not mention, it's sensible and wouldn't cost the Jags much to get him and extend him. A 4th rounder and maybe Chaisson would do the job, but there's no doubt that if you give Chaisson's snaps to Uche, we'd have a pass rush upgrade. Not only could Uche help us make a deep playoff run, he could stick around on a team friendly deal for the next couple of seasons. Danielle Hunter is a dominant pass rusher, while Uche is a situational pass rusher. If the Vikings aren't looking to wave the white flag and tank their season after the Kirk Cousins injury, the Patriots are the next team the Jaguars should be calling. After all, if Minnesota do become sellers, the Jaguars can trade for Hunter and still sign Josh Ache in free agency after the season if Hunter is too expensive (which he will be).
Darious Slayton - WR, Giants
Zay Jones has missed a lot of time and teams aren't very threatened by Jamal Agnew, Tim Jones or any other third wide receiver we have. The Giants already traded Leonard Williams, if the Jags can send a 5th or a 6th for the speedster Slayton, then could get a nice pickup who can fill in a little better when Zay Jones is down. Slayton has experience being the top dog in the Giants offense and teams would have to respect him when he's on the field, allowing Kirk and Ridley more space to operate.
Players to avoid
Chase Young/Montez Sweat - EDGE, Commanders
While the Jaguars should be looking to make a trade and go for broke to the Super Bowl, there are a couple players we should avoid making a move for. Chase Young and Montez Sweat are attracting a lot of interest around the league, due to them becoming free agents this year. Both have had solid seasons, but are not worth the investment. If you trade for a player in their rookie contract, there's often a lot of pressure to extend them. They may hold out and wait until they get extended before playing, or the trade would be executed with an extension in mind. Jaguars are going to have to pony up 25 mil + to keep Josh Allen and he's far better than both players. Not to mention, both players have only played on stacked defensive lines their entire careers. Being on a line full of 1st round picks, each player should honestly have much greater production than what they've gotten so far. Josh Uche makes more sense than either of them and Danielle Hunter would not be looking for an extension if he comes to Duval. Buyer beware.
Carl Lawson, DE - Jets
Carl Lawson has fallen quite low on the Jets defensive rotation and could be had for a conditional 7th. Either way, not a move to make for the Jaguars. Lawson has been passed up by rookies and late round draft picks. He signed a big deal to come to New York but his best days are behind him. If he comes to the Jaguars, we'd be giving up a draft and paying the same amount of money for a player who's no better than Arden Key. Perhaps the Jaguars may want to double dip and Hunter or Uche as well as Lawson, and that may be a shrewd move. However, trading for Lawson by himself will not solve our pass rush woes.
Jerry Jeudy - WR, Broncos
The Jaguars have invested heavily in weapons around Trevor Lawrence and the offense still hasn't quite taken that next leap. Some have theorized adding another skill player like Jerry Jeudy could help, but that's another mistake to avoid. Again, Jeudy would come with expectations of a contract extension that his play and attitude have not justified. Jeudy would be a better fit on the Carolina Panthers, although if I was them I'd offer Terrace Marshall and a Day 3 pick for Courtland Sutton over Jeudy. Not having Zay Jones available has hurt our offense, but someone like Darious Slayton could help steady our depth. Jeudy would expect to come in as the No. 1 or No. 2 guy and that simply wouldn't be the case. The answers to unlock our offense are on the roster, right now it's about healthy and implementing the right scheme. After a well rested bye and our offensive line at full strength, expect to see the offense take a major step forward.
It's very clear what weaknesses the Jaguars have and how to address them. But with the Chiefs, Bengals and even 49ers showing vulnerability, the time to move our chips into the middle has never been better. The question is, will the Jaguars believe in the opportunity they have this year enough to make the leap?