5th-year option won't affect Jaguars' contract talks with Trevor Lawrence

• The Jaguars plan to exercise Trevor Lawrence's 5th-year option

• It shoudn't have a negative effect on contract talks

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson talks with Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson talks with Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY

The Jacksonville Jaguars want Trevor Lawrence to be behind center for years to come. That's why it wasn't surprising to hear that they plan to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal.

General manager Trent Baalke confirmed in the aftermath of the 2024 NFL Draft that the Jags are exercising Lawrence's and Travis Etienne's fifth-year option. He didn't dwell on details but said yes when the media corps posed the question.

Rookie deals for players who are selected from Rounds 2 to 7 get four-year contracts four-year contracts. Those drafted in the first round get contracts for the same duration but they come with the aforementioned fifth-year option.

Lawrence was the first overall pick in 2021. He had an underwhelming rookie campaign but that was mostly due to the team's overall lack of direction under Urban Meyer. When Doug Pederson took over in 2022, Lawrence showed considerable improvement. He still had a few subpar performances but played like a top-10 quarterback to finish the season.

Expected to keep improving in 2023, Lawrence instead regressed. He routinely put the team on his shoulders but was also responsible for mistakes that held them back. In particular, he had 21 turnovers, the third-most in the league last year.

In his defense, Lawrence was pressured at a high rate, and injuries struck both sides of the ball. After the season, Doug Pederson said Jacksonville must do a better job of helping the star quarterback but also pointed out that he needs to cut down on the lost fumbles (he had seven).

The Jaguars' brass, for their part, are taking the necessary steps to put Lawrence in a position to succeed. They bolstered the offensive line, and have made upgrades across the roster. If Lawrence can bounce back and play like he did to end 2022, he'll once again join the conversation about the top signal-callers in the NFL.

The Jaguars are working on getting an extension done with Trevor Lawrence

Having taken care of outside linebacker Josh Allen, the Jaguars can turn their attention to giving Trevor Lawrence an extension. There's no other prominent player in line for a contract, and even if there were, Lawrence should be the priority.

The former Clemson Tiger says his camp has already gone back and forth with Jacksonville. Trent Baalke later confirmed that they've engaged in contract talks. There were rumors that they were close to striking a deal before draft day but nothing came out.

That said, it's hard to see the fifth-year option as nothing more than a placeholder before they get an extension done. Teams have a deadline to pick up the option, and it didn't cost anything to do it. When you take into account that contract talks have been positive, it's easy to see both parties reaching an agreement before training camp.

And that's the thing, the more the Jaguars wait, the more they'll have to fork out for Lawrence. Joe Burrow currently is the highest-paid quarterback in the league, with an annual average of $55 million. If Lawrence wanted to, he could demand a higher bigger one. It doesn't seem like he's taking that route, though. It was reported that he's willing to take a discount if he gets certain things in return.

Either way, getting Lawrence under contract would allow the Jaguars to have a clear idea of how much cap space they'll have in the upcoming years. Also, they'll be able to focus on locking up other players without having to worry about their star quarterback.

The truth is that the Jacksonville Jaguars gain nothing by letting Trevor Lawrence play on the fifth-year option. Expect them to get a deal done before the start of the 2023 season.

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