1. The Jaguars won't feel the impact of Trevor Lawrence's next contract until 2025-2026
Besides outside linebacker Josh Allen, there are several Jaguars players in line for a new contract. Calvin Ridley is in the last year of his rookie deal. Cornerback Tyson Campbell, offensive lineman Walker Little, and safety Andre Cisco will all be eligible for extensions in 2024. The elephant in the room though is Trevor Lawrence.
Like Cisco, Campbell, and Little, Lawrence is a member of the 2021 draft class. But unlike them, he was picked in the first round, meaning that the team can use the fifth-year option in his rookie deal. If the Jaguars decide to exercise the option, he would then become a free agent until 2026. The top brass won't probably wait until then to give him a new deal.
Instead, the Jags could give Lawrence an extension that's cap-friendly early on and push most of the money into the later years. That would give them immense cap flexibility in 2024 and probably 2025. They could then re-sign their own players, and also make a few splash acquisitions in free agency. The Philadephia Eagles have used this approach in recent years, and it's worked.
Although Philly already gave quarterback Jalen Hurts a monster contract this year, they've spared no expenses in free agency, going after players like C.J. Gardner-Johnson, or James Bradberry in recent years. Not surprisingly, they're a legitimate Super Bowl contender. It helps that they've had back-to-back productive draft classes but one of their reasons for success is that they don't let the salary cap get in their way.
This doesn't mean the Jaguars should go after every big-name player available in free agency next year though. Rather, they need to address immediate needs if they want to get over the hump next season. Teams that want to have a legitimate shot at getting to the Super Bowl do. They Jags should follow suit.