5 Key Stories: 6/9/24 – 6/16/24

The conclusion of each team’s offseason program around the NFL brought about several key developments. In case you missed any of the top headlines from the past week, here is a quick recap:

  • Lawrence Inks Jaguars Extension: A mutual interest existed between Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars with respect to working out a monster deal, and that goal has been reached. The former No. 1 pick is now attached to a five-year, $275MM extension including $200MM in guarantees. The $55MM annual average value of the pact matches that of Joe Burrow’s market-topping deal from last offseason, a sign of Jacksonville’s investment in future development from Lawrence. The latter has had an up-and-down tenure to begin his career, and 2023 marked a regression compared to the previous campaign. Still, Lawrence will be expected to lead a return to the postseason moving forward, and he is on the books through 2030. Meanwhile, the QB market now has six players attached to an AAV above $50MM.
  • Steelers Extend Tomlin Through 2027: Earlier in the campaign, Mike Tomlin’s Steelers future was a talking point; that is no longer the case, though. The NFL’s longest-tenured head coach signed a three-year extension, meaning he is now under contract through 2027. Tomlin, 52, has been in Pittsburgh since 2007, a tenure which has seen a pair of Super Bowl appearances and one title. The Steelers are in the midst of a playoff drought, however, and the post-Ben Roethlisberger era has not gone as planned under center to date. Tomlin will be counted on to oversee an attempted rebound on offense moving forward with a continued endorsement from owner Art Rooney II.
  • Higgins Signs Bengals Franchise Tag: The last of the NFL’s 2024 franchise tag recipients is on the books, but not via a long-term extension. Tee Higgins has signed his Bengals franchise tag, putting him on track to earn $21.8MM this season. A multi-year agreement could still be worked out until mid-July, but that would come as a surprise at this point. The 25-year-old is joined by teammate and fellow wideout Ja’Marr Chase in needing a new contract, and investing in the latter would make a Higgins pact challenging. The top of the receiver market has surged this offseason, and another productive campaign from the Clemson product (who has twice topped 1,000 yards) will help his value for a likely free agent departure.
  • Giants’ Waller Retires: Throughout much of the offseason, it remained unclear whether or not Darren Waller would hang up his clears or play a second year with the Giants. The veteran tight end took the former route, ending his career after eight seasons and nine years in the NFL. Hamstring injuries were a common issue in recent campaigns, but the former Pro Bowler faced high expectations upon arrival in New York last offseason. Waller was a key member of the team’s low-output passing attack, but he was limited to 12 games before contemplating his future in the spring. Now, the Giants will rely on other in-house options at the TE spot as Waller transitions to his post-playing days.
  • Falcons Issued Tampering Penalties; Eagles Cleared: The NFL’s investigation into tampering violations by the Falcons and Eagles concluded with varied results. Atlanta was found to have breached the policy with respect to the Kirk Cousins, Darnell Mooney and Charlie Woerner. The Falcons were docked a 2025 fifth-round pick as a result, and the team will pay out a $250K fine. General manager Terry Fontenot has also been issued a $50K fine as part of the latest league discipline on the subject of tampering. The Eagles, meanwhile, were under scrutiny for their Saquon Barkley addition. Philadelphia was found not to have committed a violation, however, and the team will not face any punishment.
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