Jags, Trevor Lawrence Begin Extension Talks

Trevor Lawrence‘s ascent encountered some turbulence last season; the Jaguars flopped down the stretch and missed the playoffs. That ending has not changed the organization’s plans with its centerpiece player.

Franchise-caliber quarterbacks often sign extensions before their fourth season. Lawrence is now in that window, becoming extension-eligible in January. Proceeding down that path, GM Trent Baalke confirmed Thursday (via NFL.com’s Cameron Wolfe) the team has begun Lawrence extension talks.

Baalke said earlier this offseason “no doubt” existed the team would extend Lawrence at some point. It may not be a lock that happens this offseason; exercising Lawrence’s fifth-year option will buy the Jags some time. That said, a host of QBs have inked their first extensions before Year 4.

Since Ryan Tannehill‘s Dolphins re-up in 2015, 11 more QBs — Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow — have signed extensions before their fourth seasons. Not having a deal done in this timeframe has been the exception, with the promise of a monster guarantee — rather than playing a fourth year on a rookie salary — factoring in prominently here.

This would be a new chapter for the Jags, who have seen their two other first-round QBs chosen in the slot-system era (Blaine Gabbert, Blake Bortles) not prove worthy of a big-ticket extension.

Lawrence, 24, is the only member of five-first-rounder 2021 QB contingent who is a lock to be the 2024 starter for the team that drafted him. Trey Lance has been traded, while Zach Wilson has been granted permission to find a trade partner. Justin Fields will probably be on the move soon, and Mac Jones‘ future in New England is murky. That said, Lawrence has not yet distinguished himself as a top-tier passer despite generational prospect status back in ’21.

After a late-season Lawrence surge drove the Jaguars to the 2022 playoffs and a historic wild-card comeback, the Clemson product ranked 17th in QBR last season — a 9-8 Jacksonville showing. Lawrence, whose INT count spiked from eight to 14 from 2022-23, did battle through extensive injury trouble last year. Ankle and knee sprains did not end up sidelining the durable QB last season, but a Week 16 AC joint injury — during a woeful performance in Tampa — shelved him in Week 17. The Titans then upset the Jaguars to end their playoff push in Week 18.

The Dolphins waited a year before talking a Tua Tagovailoa extension; those talks are taking place this offseason. Far more significant injury issues clouded Tagovailoa’s future going into last season, whereas Lawrence has missed just one career game. The former national championship-winning QB did effectively go through a lost rookie season, with the Urban Meyer experiment backfiring spectacularly. That could lead to this Jags regime pressing pause. But with talks already beginning, the prospect of a Lawrence contract topping $50MM per year — a price that obviously will change the Jags’ roster-building blueprint — coming to pass this year is in play.

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