The Jacksonville Jaguars will have many important decisions this offseason. One of them is whether to extend Trevor Lawrence, who's entering the third year of his rookie deal and thus, eligible for a contract. Dan Graziano of ESPN, for one, believes the star quarterback is better off waiting until next year to engage in negotiations.
Graziano put together a list of key players, and coaches for the 2024 offseason, and Trevor Lawrence's contract situation popped up. He points out that the fourth-year passer should rebuild his stock and wait until 2025 to cash in.
"Lawrence, the 2021 first overall pick, is eligible for an extension this offseason for the first time. Will he follow the trend of young QBs breaking the bank and resetting the market after their third season? With the way the Jaguars' season ended -- a massive collapse after starting 8-3 -- he might be better off waiting until next offseason to sign his new deal. The Jaguars can pick up his fifth-year option for 2025 to keep him under contract for at least two more seasons."
Keep in mind that it takes two to tango, and the Jaguars could easily wait until 2027 to give Lawrence a contract extension. They will most likely pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal, which would keep him under contract through 2025. The team's brass could then use the franchise tag in 2026. They won't probably wait that long to pay Lawrence but given that they have more pressing needs right now, extending him might take a back seat this offseason.
Also, the Jaguars may not prioritize giving Lawrence because he isn't in a hurry to get paid. He made an appearance on the NFL Network during Super Bowl Week and said that getting a new deal isn't at the top of his mind right now. Instead, bouncing back from an injury-marred season and helping Jacksonville win games are his main focus.
Lawrence took off in the second half of the 2022 season, playing like a top-10 quarterback and leading the Jags to the playoffs. However, his production suffered a dip last year despite the fact that he was performing at a high level. Unfortunately, his supporting cast didn't help much. The offensive line couldn't block and the team struggled to adjust when wide receivers Zay Jones and Christian Kirk missed time with injuries.
At one point, the Jags couldn't overcome their lack of depth. Add their poor on-field execution in the second half and it's no surprise that they lost five of their last six games. Granted, Trevor Lawrence sometimes tried to do too much, going off script when he didn't have to. Also, he lost 12 fumbles, so he played a part in the team's collapse. Then again, he was far from the problem, often being the sole reason Jacksonville was in a position to win games, to begin with.
The Jaguars will be smart to extend Trevor Lawrence within the next two years
Just because it's not a top priority now, it doesn't mean the Jaguars should outright wait until 2026 or 2027 to give Trevor Lawrence a contract extension. After all, he may be coming off an underwhelming campaign but he could put the team in a tough spot if he made it known he won't play without a new deal. Without him, their chances of winning in 2024 would decrease considerably.
Fortunately, Lawrence is a pro. He won't be the kind of player that will make offseason headlines for being a distraction. On the other hand, the Tennessee native knows that he can get an even better contract if he can rebound in 2024. He showed that he can play at an elite level, but he needs to stay healthy, something he failed to do last season. If the team's brass makes the necessary upgrades to the offensive line, that shouldn't be an issue.
The bottom line is that both the Jaguars and Trevor Lawrence benefit from waiting until next year to get an extension done. They can address other needs and improve his supporting cast. On the other hand, he can afford to wait while the quarterback market continues to go up.