Jaguars giving Josh Allen a new deal shows desire to reclaim AFC South

• The Jaguars checked off a big box when they gave OLB Josh Allen a top-market deal.
Oct 2, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) before
Oct 2, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) before / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars are rewarding their best defensive player. They're giving outside linebacker a Josh Allen a top-market extension, ensuring he stays in Duval for years to come.

The Jags are giving Allen a five-year contract worth $150 million that includes $88 million in guarantees, per multiple reports. The deal makes him the second highest-paid edge rusher in the league just behind Nick Bosa.

The Jaguars and Allen's camp had been exchanging offers for a couple months, but it was hard to tell what kind of deal they would strike after fellow pass rusher Brian Burns got a five-year, $141 million deal when he got traded to the New York Giants. Allen's contract will pay him $1.8 million more per year than Burns ($28.2 million).

With a new extension in place, Allen can now focus on having another banner season. A first-round pick in 2019, he set a new team record for sacks in a season with 17.5. However, it took the Virginia native a while to hit his stride. While he logged 10.5 sacks as a rookie and made the Pro Bowl, injuries, and other factors prevented him from becoming the game-changer the Jags expected.

In 2020, Allen suffered a knee injury that limited to eight games and 2.5 sacks. The following year, the Urban Meyer debacle took a took on him and the rest of the team. The Former Kentucky Wildcat then had a good but not great season in 2022. Although he was dominant at times, he also disappeared with stretches. Still, he managed to register 7.5 sacks and make a few big plays along the way.

The Jaguars wanted more from Allen in 2023, though, and let him play his contract out before they gave him an extension. By his own admission, he had room for improvement but vowed to put it all together. He did and then some, recording 90 total pressures and posting a 20.5 percent pass-rush win rate.

Rightfully, Allen wanted the Jaguars to live up to the end of their bargain after 2023. However, general manager Trent Baalke hadn't started negotiations by January. Allen and his representatives weren't pleased with Baalke's lack of urgency but they began contract talks not long after. They couldn't strike a deal before free agency, so they applied the franchise tag on him.

Still, talks were positive and both parties kept exchanging offers. Allen's new deal is the culmination of those talks.

What's next for the Jaguars after giving Josh Allen an extension.

While Josh Allen can now fully focus on making the switch to defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen's 4-3 system, the Jacksonville Jaguars will next turn their attention to the 2024 NFL Draft. Also, they can start working on an extension for Trevor Lawrence.

Talks are still in the early stages but Baalke and Lawrence's representatives are already discussing the framework of a potential deal. Per Mia O'Brien of 1010 XL, the star quarterback is open to taking the Tom Brady path in negotiations, meaning that he could take a discount as long as the organization pours the savings into other areas of the roster.

It's not a given that they will but if the Jaguars also manage to lock up Lawrence in 2024, they'll have their two most important players under contract, and they'll have a legitimate chance to compete in the AFC South year in and year out.

Josh Allen was going to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2024 with or without a new deal. Now that he does, he should be incentivized to have another monster season and help the team seize the division.

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