Jaguars cannot afford to fumble contract talks with Trevor Lawrence

• The Jaguars can't repeat the same mistake they made with Josh Allen in contract negotiations.
Dec 10, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson and quarterback
Dec 10, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson and quarterback / Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Outside linebacker Josh Allen played well enough to earn a new contract last year. He had to wait to get it but the Jacksonville Jaguars eventually rewarded him. Had they been more assertive, though, they wouldn't have had to fork out as much money to keep Allen around. Trevor Lawrence is next in line for a new deal and the Jags cannot afford to make the same mistake.

The Jaguars held their pre-draft presser and general manager Trent Baalke indicated that they've begun negotiations with Lawrence. However, he says they won't rush things and will get it done at the appropriate time.

"Try not to force anything, but we've had some great talks, some great conversations. I spoke with his agency again last night," Baalke said. "We're working, but we can't force this stuff. I said the same thing with Josh's situation."

"I said it would take some time; it did. But we're glad that it got completed when it did so we could go into this offseason program knowing that that's behind us and we can move forward. So we're working at it. We'll continue to work at it. Ownerships involved obviously, coach [Pederson] is involved, we're gonna put our best foot forward and hope to get something accomplished here," Baalke said.

Lawrence said during his media availability session in the offseason program that contract negotiations had begun. Earlier in the offseason, Mia O'Brien of 1010 XL reported that the star quarterback could be open to taking a Tom Brady-like discount if he got a few things in return.

Having been drafted in 2021, Lawrence is already eligible for an extension. Regardless of where contract talks stand, the Jaguars will likely pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal, which would keep him under contract through 2025. If they haven't reached a deal by then, the team's brass could use the franchise tag on him.

But based on comments by all parties involved, it looks like a deal could get done this offseason, and it's in the Jaguars' best interest to extend Lawrence as soon as possible. Here's Baalke's exchange with the local media.

Why the Jaguars benefit from giving Trevor Lawrence an extension ASAP

The demand for quarterbacks in the NFL outweighs the supply. That's why you'll see midtier signal-callers like Daniel Jones getting top-market money. It's also a reason salaries keep going up on a yearly basis. Last offseason, Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, and Justin Herbert signed deals that pay them an annual salary of around $55 million. If Trevor Lawrence wanted to, he could easily surpass that amount.

Fortunately for the Jags, he's got bigger priorities than becoming the highest-paid quarterback in the league. Having said that, they shouldn't get comfortable just because getting an extension isn't his main focus right now. In fact, getting something done now and not two years from now will allow them to have a better idea of what their cap room will look like for the duration of the deal.

Another reason for Jacksonville to strike a deal is that Lawrence's stock isn't at its highest right now. He wasn't dreadful in 2023 but he wasn't nearly as productive as he was the season prior. By waiting, Trent Baalke runs the risk of seeing Lawrence have a bounce-back season and increase his leverage in negotiations.

That's precisely what happened with Josh Allen. Jacksonville could've locked up him before the start of the 2023 season but instead waited nearly a year and had to overpay for his services. Sure, everyone is glad it's no longer an issue but the Jags could've saved themselves some money (and cap) had they operated with a sense of urgency.

Moving forward, the Jacksonville Jaguars must make sure they don't repeat the same mistake with Trevor Lawrence.

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