Jaguars, Trevor Lawrence Finalize Extension

JUNE 14: Further details on the Lawrence accord have emerged. To no surprise, the pact contains a no-trade clause, as first reported by CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones. The cash flow through the first new year consists of $82.66MM, which falls short of the Burrow pact.

Still, Lawrence has secured a long-term Jags commitment with this pact. PFT’s Mike Florio details that the first three years consist of fully guaranteed base salaries along with $35MM option bonuses locked in at signing. Of the $41MM he is due in 2027, $29MM is already guaranteed. Another $12MM will shift from an injury to a full guarantee in 2026. Likewise, his 2028 option bonus ($35MM) and salary ($11MM) will vest one year early. $6MM in incentives as well as non-guaranteed 2029 and ’30 salaries round out the monster investment.

JUNE 13: Another domino in the quarterback market will fall in Jacksonville. Weeks ahead of training camp, Trevor Lawrence‘s extension is done. It will match Joe Burrow‘s NFL contract record.

The former No. 1 overall pick agreed to a five-year, $275MM extension Thursday, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports. The deal will include $200MM guaranteed in total and $142MM guaranteed at signing. Part of the guarantee will come from a $37.5MM signing bonus, Rapoport adds, spreading out the quarterback’s cap hits.

The latter two marks are not NFL standards, but at $55MM per year, Lawrence has checked in alongside the player chosen first overall a year before him. Since the Jaguars picked up Lawrence’s fifth-year option, his extension will run through the 2030 season. Lawrence joins Patrick Mahomes as the only players signed into the 2030s.

This certainly marks a pivotal offseason for the Jaguars, who reached a lucrative extension with Josh Allen not long after franchise-tagging their top pass rusher. New deals for Lawrence and Allen will change the equation for the Jags, who could not do too much to capitalize on their quarterback’s rookie contract. Though, the Jags had sunk low before landing Lawrence and did not begin a legitimate recovery effort until the QB’s second season, as the Urban Meyer year kept the franchise in the NFL’s basement.

Lawrence, however, has shown promise under Doug Pederson. The Clemson product best displayed his talents during the second half of the 2022 season, which brought a Jags surge to the AFC South title and a 27-point comeback over the Chargers in the wild-card round. The team did not build on this last season, collapsing down the stretch — as Lawrence battled multiple injuries — and missing the playoffs. Pederson and Trent Baalke will now be tasked with forming a winning team around a $55MM-per-year quarterback contract.

In terms of guarantees, Lawrence’s marks check in third in both categories. No one has come close to approaching the $230MM fully guaranteed Deshaun Watson commanded from the Browns; Burrow came closest, at $146.5MM. Lawrence’s full guarantee checks in between Burrow and Lamar Jackson ($135MM). His total guarantee comes in between Burrow’s ($219MM) and Justin Herbert‘s ($193.7MM). Lawrence has not reached the heights of any QB in this salary range, counting Watson’s Texans success, so this deal represents good news for the likes of Tua Tagovailoa and Jordan Love. It also will help Dak Prescott gain more leverage in his latest talks with the Cowboys.

The salary cap’s record rise to $255.4MM — a $30MM-plus increase — placed this QB contingent as clear candidates to join the $50MM-AAV club, which formed last year when Jackson, Herbert, Burrow and Jalen Hurts each signed extensions. Jared Goff signed an extension that made him second only to Burrow in the league; the Lions QB drops to third after this Lawrence agreement.

Lawrence joined Burrow, Herbert and a host of other first-round QBs in the rookie-scale era to sign an extension before his fourth season. This both locks the Jaguars centerpiece into a veteran salary (as opposed to a $1.1MM number he was previously due in 2024) during his first offseason of extension eligibility, but it stands to help the team through a long-term lens. It gives Jacksonville seven years of control on its quarterback.

Mahomes’ outlier contract, in place since 2020, runs through 2031. QBs have steered clear of any extension of that length. But the Burrow, Herbert and Lawrence accords tie the QBs to their teams for seven years. Lawrence’s contract going through 2030 gives the Jags some cost certainty for the foreseeable future. As the cap keeps climbing, that will help the team’s cause — even if it will mean a tougher go through a roster-building standpoint in the short term.

Lawrence’s poor rookie-year showing under Meyer and injury-plagued 2023 did not give the Jags an extensive sample of success, making this megadeal stand out from some of the other monster pacts awarded to QBs in the recent past. They could have conceivably, as the Dolphins did with Tagovailoa, made Lawrence go through a “prove it” Year 4 season. But they will act early, having begun extension talks in February. Baalke confirmed ownership and Pederson were involved in the talks, and the parties crossed the finish line during minicamp week.

Lawrence, 24, came into the NFL with a flashy prospect profile; he played out his final season at Clemson as the clear-cut favorite to be chosen first overall in 2021. After the Jets started 0-13 in 2020, it looked like the Dabo Swinney charge would be Big Apple-bound. But two late-season wins from Gang Green gave the Jaguars, who finished 1-15, the right to pick first the following April. While Meyer was calling the shots at that point, Baalke was starting his GM tenure.

That 2021 draft, which came amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, featured memorable whiffs in the first round. The other four teams that chose first-round QBs that year — the Jets (Zach Wilson), 49ers (Trey Lance), Bears (Justin Fields) and Patriots (Mac Jones) — traded away those passers. Lawrence has not been a top-tier QB by any means, but he has managed to stick in Jacksonville and show enough to earn this contract. The Jags are certainly betting his best seasons are ahead.

In terms of QBR, Lawrence has finished 28th, 17th and 17th from 2021-23. He memorably threw one touchdown pass from Halloween to New Year’s Day during a miserable 2021 Jags season, and the 2022 team started 3-7. But Lawrence guided the Jags to comeback wins over the Cowboys and Ravens down the stretch, pairing well with a veteran receiving corps. He fired TD passes to all four of his top targets in the comeback win over the Bolts and put a scare into the No. 1-seeded Chiefs in a narrow divisional-round loss.

Last season brought a step back, as Pederson gave play-calling duties to OC Press Taylor. Lawrence finished with 21 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions — after assembling a 25-8 ratio in 2022 — and was present for a collapse in which the Jags sank from 8-3 to 9-8. While Lawrence has displayed plus durability as a pro, he missed his first game last season. Lawrence sustained knee and ankle sprains, playing through both, before suffering an AC joint injury and a concussion late in the season. His injuries undoubtedly affected the Jags, though the team gutted its defensive staff as a result of the downturn.

This offseason, the Jags also revamped Lawrence’s pass-catching corps. They signed Bills deep threat Gabe Davis and attempted to keep Calvin Ridley. It would have been more difficult for the Jags to re-sign Ridley, given where his market went, and then pay Lawrence. The team still carries Christian Kirk‘s $18MM-per-year deal. Ridley joined the Titans on a four-year, $92MM pact, and the Jags opted for more help in the draft by using their first-round pick on LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr. — last season’s Division I-FBS receiving TDs leader (17). Thomas’ rookie contract will pair well with Lawrence’s extension, as the Jags also have Evan Engram signed to a top-10 tight end contract.

The Jags will face some pressure to make this contract pay off. While Lawrence has been by far the best QB from the 2021 class, he has not submitted a top-shelf season like the rest of the members in the NFL’s $50MM-AAV club. Pederson, Taylor and Co. will need to see that he does to make this contract worthwhile.

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