Travis Etienne

Jaguars To Exercise Fifth-Year Options On Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne

Much of the attention around the football world has been focused on the draft in recent days, but the deadline on fifth-year option decisions is approaching. The Jaguars had a pair of calls to make regarding quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne.

In both cases, the options will be picked up, general manager Trent Baalke said during his post-draft press conference. Lawrence will therefore collect $22.66MM in 2025, while Etienne will receive $6.14MM. With respect to the former in particular, though, this decision could easily serve as a placeholder for a long-term extension.

Talks on a new deal with Lawrence are ongoing, and the monster extension recently worked out with edge rusher Josh Allen has cleared a major item of the Jags’ offseason to-do list. Next up will likely be a second pact with Lawrence, as ascending passers have increasingly been extended within their first offseason of eligibility. Baalke is optimistic something can worked out, though he has preached patience with respect to terms being finalized.

Like the rest of the team, Lawrence struggled as a rookie under head coach Urban Meyer. The arrival of Doug Pederson as a replacement sparked a major uptick in production and a run to the divisional round of the playoffs. Injuries throughout the 2023 campaign limited the 24-year-old’s success and led to missed action for the first time in his NFL tenure. Even when at full strength, though, Jacksonville’s offense struggled and the team wound up outside the postseason picture.

Last offseason saw four young QBs – Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts – surpass $50MM in terms of the annual average value of their extensions. Many have pointed to Lawrence as the next in line to approach the top of the market, although the generally underwhelming nature of his time in Duval County to date could hurt his value. In any case, Lawrence will lock in an AAV much higher than the value of his option if a Jags extension can be agreed to in the near future.

Etienne was selected late in the 2021 first round to continue his time alongside Lawrence. The pair formed a dynamic duo at Clemson, and expectations were high for Etienne once he was able to take the field at the NFL level. After missing his rookie season due to injury, the 25-year-old had a strong showing in 2022 (1,125 yards, five touchdowns on the ground; 316 receiving yards). This past campaign saw a notable drop in efficiency, though – Etienne averaged 3.8 yards per carry, down from 5.1.

Jacksonville is aiming to share the load more in the backfield this season, with Etienne having logged 580 touches to date. The team’s draft efforts in that regard consisted of adding Keilan Robinson in the fifth round. Regardless of how the workload is divvied up, Etienne will no doubt be counted on as a key figure in the Jags’ offense for the foreseeable future knowing he will be in place over at least the next two years.

2025 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 2 to officially pick up fifth-year options on 2021 first-rounders. The 2020 CBA revamped the option structure and made them fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, fifth-year option salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement and performance- and usage-based benchmarks:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternates) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag
  • Players who achieve any of the following will receive the average of the third-20th-highest salaries at their position:
    • At least a 75% snap rate in two of their first three seasons
    • A 75% snap average across all three seasons
    • At least 50% in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will receive the average of the third-25th top salaries at their position

With the deadline looming, we will use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

  1. QB Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars ($25.66MM): Exercised
  2. QB Zach Wilson, Broncos* ($22.41MM): Declined
  3. QB Trey Lance, Cowboys** ($22.41MM): Declined
  4. TE Kyle Pitts, Falcons ($10.88MM): Exercised
  5. WR Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals ($21.82MM): Exercised
  6. WR Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins ($15.59MM): Exercised
  7. T Penei Sewell, Lions ($19MM): Extended through 2029
  8. CB Jaycee Horn, Panthers ($12.47MM): Exercised
  9. CB Patrick Surtain, Broncos ($19.82MM): Exercised
  10. WR DeVonta Smith, Eagles ($15.59MM): Extended through 2028
  11. QB Justin Fields, Steelers*** ($25.66MM): Declined
  12. DE Micah Parsons, Cowboys ($21.32MM): Exercised
  13. T Rashawn Slater, Chargers ($19MM): Exercised
  14. OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, Jets ($13.31MM): Exercised
  15. QB Mac Jones, Jaguars**** ($25.66MM): Declined
  16. LB Zaven Collins, Cardinals ($13.25MM): Declined
  17. T Alex Leatherwood, Raiders: N/A
  18. LB Jaelan Phillips, Dolphins ($13.3MM): Exercised
  19. LB Jamin Davis, Commanders ($14.48MM): Declined
  20. WR Kadarius Toney, Chiefs***** ($14.35MM): Declined
  21. DE Kwity Paye, Colts ($13.4MM): Exercised
  22. CB Caleb Farley, Titans ($12.47MM): Declined
  23. T Christian Darrisaw, Vikings ($16MM): Exercised
  24. RB Najee Harris, Steelers ($6.79MM): Declined
  25. RB Travis Etienne, Jaguars ($6.14MM): Exercised
  26. CB Greg Newsome, Browns ($13.38MM): To be exercised
  27. WR Rashod Bateman, Ravens ($14.35MM): N/A; extended through 2026
  28. DE Payton Turner, Saints ($13.39MM): Declined
  29. CB Eric Stokes, Packers ($12.47MM): Declined
  30. DE Greg Rousseau, Bills ($13.39MM): Exercised
  31. LB Odafe Oweh, Ravens ($13.25MM): Exercised
  32. LB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Buccaneers ($13.25MM): Declined

* = Jets traded Wilson on April 22, 2024
** = 49ers traded Lance on August 25, 2023
*** = Bears traded Fields on March 16, 2024
**** = Patriots traded Jones on March 10, 2024
***** = Giants traded Toney on October 27, 2022

Jaguars Plan To Reduce RB Travis Etienne’s Workload

Travis Etienne missed his entire rookie season due to injury, but his play when healthy in 2022 led the Jaguars to trade away James RobinsonThe former took on lead back duties as a result, but last offseason the team attempted to add depth in the backfield and reduce his workload.

In spite of those efforts, Etienne wound up logging a 73% offensive snap share in 2023. His 325 touches (267 carries, 58 receptions) ranked third in the NFL, marking a major uptick compared to his usage rate the year before. The former first-rounder is still atop a running back depth chart which features Tank Bigsby and D’Ernest Johnson. Head coach Doug Pederson is hoping to lighten Etienne’s load in 2024, though.

“I think it’s a little bit of everything,” Pederson said in an interview with NBC Sports’ Matthew Berry about Etienne’s usage last season (via PFT’s Josh Alper). “Johnson got hurt a little bit in there, and then Tank was a rookie and learning and coming on. We really like Tank and he’ll have a bigger impact for us this year for us. It’s not the recipe, necessarily, to put Travis in that situation. So I would consider knocking a few of those reps down to keep him healthy throughout the course of the year.”

Johnson and Bigsby saw a combined total of 91 carries with each playing 17 games in 2023, and Pederson’s comments suggest the latter could be the top beneficiary of a re-distribution of touches. That, in turn, would likely help Etienne return to his efficiency from 2022. The Clemson alum averaged 5.1 yards per carry in his first healthy campaign, but that figure fell to 3.8 last season. Improved play in general on offense would of course help his individual performance, but a more balanced RB workload would be a factor as well.

Etienne has one year remaining on his rookie contract as things stand, but the Jags could keep him in place through 2025 by picking up his fifth-year option. A decision on that option (which would cost $6.14MM) will need to be made this spring, and his projected workload moving forward will no doubt be a factor under consideration. In any event, it will be interesting to see how Etienne will be used in 2024 after a second straight offseason pointing to a reduction in touches.

Injury Updates: Garrett, Bengals, Etienne, Dolphins

Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett likely suffered some structural damage in his left shoulder, an injury that was aggravated during last weekend’s loss. As Mary Kay Cabot of writes, it’s uncertain if the injury will even require surgery, and Garrett is determined to continue playing this season.

“I feel terrible,” Garrett said following Sunday’s loss to the Broncos. “Everything hurts, shoulder hurts. But we’ve got to keep on going, keep on rolling till the wheels fall off. We’re having great success and enjoying how this team is really coming together, especially down the stretch. And we’re going to continue to keep on working hard to be fresh and fit whenever we get to Sunday.”

Garrett said he felt a pop in his shoulder during the game, but he also admitted that he’s been dealing with a shoulder issue for the entire season. The injury could be attributed to the AC joint sprain Garrett suffered last season, or it could be an entirely new injury, with Cabot speculating that the pass rusher may be dealing with a partial dislocation.

The former first-overall pick is on track to earn another All-Pro nod in 2022. In 11 games, Garrett has collected 13 sacks, 23 QB hits, and 12 tackles for loss.

More injury notes from around the NFL…

  • The Bengals got some good news on both sides of the ball ahead of Monday Night Football. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Bengals wideout Tee Higgins and linebacker Logan Wilson will play against the Jaguars. Higgins has missed the past three games while dealing with a hamstring injury, while Wilson is recovering from an ankle injury suffered last weekend. Unfortunately, it’s not all good news in Cincinnati. After suffering a sprained ankle at practice this week, Bengals cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt will not play on Monday night, per Schefter.
  • On the other side, Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said he’s expecting running back Travis Etienne to play on Monday night, per ESPN’s Michael DiRocco. Etienne suffered a rib injury last weekend that briefly forced him to exit the game, and he’s been practicing on a limited basis throughout the week. If he is sidelined on Monday, the Jaguars would lean on D’Ernest Johnson and rookie Tank Bigsby.
  • De’Von Achane is expected to play for the Dolphins this weekend, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. After returning from a knee injury in time for Week 11, the running back was once again sidelined with the issue for Week 12. Meanwhile, Terron Armstead said he intends to play this weekend despite suffering a quadriceps injury on Black Friday. It was initially thought that the offensive tackle could miss multiple weeks, so this is an encouraging update for the Dolphins offense.

Jaguars To Reduce Travis Etienne’s Workload

Travis Etienne made his long-awaited debut with the Jaguars in 2022, and he delivered a strong season as the team’s lead running back. The former first-rounder is part of a more crowded RB room in Jacksonville, now, however, something which is expected to affect his usage rate.

Jacksonville turned lead back duties over to Etienne on a permanent basis midway through the 2022 campaign when they traded away James Robinson. The former was left with a sizeable workload, seeing 74% of running back carries following the trade. That came in part due to his effectiveness, but also the lack of other options the team had on the depth chart.

This offseason, the Jaguars have supplemented Snoop Conner and JaMycal Hasty with free agent signing D’Ernest Johnson and third-round rookie Tank Bigsby. Johnson showed signficant potential in a rotational role with the Browns, while Bigsby put up considerable production during a three-year career at Auburn. Those two are in line to play a notable supporting role in their first season in Duval County.

ESPN’s Michael DiRocco notes that Jacksonville’s moves at the position this year have been aimed at reducing Etienne’s workload moving forward. The Clemson product logged a snap share of 60% overall on the season – though that figure was higher following the Robinson trade. Overall, he totaled 1,125 yards on 220 carries (good for an average of 5.1 yards per attempt), adding 316 yards in the passing game. His aim, and that of the team, will be a setup allowing him to remain efficient on the ground and in the air while lessening the burden he is responsible for in the offense.

“I feel like it keeps the wear and tear off my body,” Etienne said. “I don’t have to go and bang myself up each and every play. I’ve got somebody else to take a couple licks off of me and I love that.”

Offensive coordinator Press Taylor confirmed that the RB pecking order and workload will be determined over the summer, but Etienne remains in line for signficant usage in 2023. On a team with a capable array of pass-catchers (especially considering the reinstatement of Calvin Ridley) and, now, a deeper group in the backfield, though, Etienne’s second NFL campaign should see him on the field slightly less often than his first.

Jags Eyeing Week 1 James Robinson Return

The Jaguars did not place James Robinson on their active/PUP list to start training camp, but coming off a late-December Achilles tear, the third-year running back’s early-season availability has been in question. Doug Pederson is envisioning Robinson being ready to go from the outset.

Robinson made his 2022 debut in team drills this week, per Michael DiRocco of The UDFA success story will not play in Jacksonville’s second preseason game, but, in classifying Robinson as “almost there,” Pederson is anticipating a Week 1 re-emergence.

It’s the expectation; it’s kind of the hope that he can be there at that point,” Pederson said of Robinson’s potential Week 1 availability, via Pro Football Talk’s Myles Simmons. “And, listen, if not, it’s OK. We’re comfortable with the guys behind him and we’ll go with what we have.”

Jacksonville having Robinson in uniform in Week 1 would position the team to, at long last, trot out both its top backs in a game. The team played 2021 without first-round pick Travis Etienne. After the Clemson product missed his rookie year, he has not experienced any setbacks in a return from a Lisfranc injury. The Jags also chose Snoop Conner in the fifth round this year.

Cam Akers‘ late-season return last year showed how quickly running backs can surmount Achilles tears, though the Rams back was not exactly himself during his late-season cameo. It has been nearly eight months since Robinson went down. It will be interesting to see Robinson’s 2022 form and how Pederson uses he and Etienne. The former has been the Jaguars’ leading rusher in each of his two years, following up a UDFA rookie-record 1,414 scrimmage yards with a better YPC average (4.7) last season.

Because of his UDFA status, Robinson is already extension-eligible. But the Jaguars are on their third head coach of the Illinois State alum’s career. It would make sense for the team to determine how Robinson fits in Pederson’s offense and see how he looks post-Achilles before proceeding down that road. Robinson, 24, can be kept via ERFA and RFA tenders through 2023.

Jaguars’ Travis Etienne Cleared To Practice

Travis Etienne missed the entirety of his rookie season, but there is further reason for optimism that he will be available at the beginning of the 2022 campaign. The running back has been cleared to practice in full, as detailed by Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk

Head coach Doug Pederson confirmed that Etienne will be “set to work without restrictions” when OTAs begin this week. That will be a welcomed sign for the 2021 first-rounder, whom the team selected with the hopes of continuing the success he had with quarterback Trevor Lawrence at Clemson. A Lisfranc injury cost him his entire rookie campaign, however, and the team’s offense finished with the lowest point total in the league.

The 23-year-old provided an encouraging update in February, when he first began working out again. That pointed to a recovery in time for at least training camp, which would of course have a significant effect on the team’s running game and re-vamped offense in general. With James Robinson having suffered an Achilles injury in December, Etienne would likely be in line for a starter’s workload right away in 2022.

There were more positive signs in April, when Etienne returned to on-field drills. At that time, he confirmed that his recovery was still headed in the right direction. “If I didn’t know I had a screw in my foot, I couldn’t tell”, he said, adding that he was leaning towards having the screw removed. Regardless of his decision on that front, his return to full on-field work will provide Pederson with another intriguing young option as the Jaguars look to take a step forward in 2022.

Latest On Jaguars RB Travis Etienne

After having to sit out his entire rookie season with a foot injury, Travis Etienne believes he’s just about back to full health. According to ESPN’s Michael DiRocco, the Jaguars running back expects to be fully cleared by the time training camp comes around.

Etienne is already participating in his team’s voluntary offseason conditioning program with new head coach Doug Pederson. The running back estimated that he’s 85-90% recovered from his Lisfranc injury, and while he’s still limited “in some of his weight-room work,” he’s been able to take part in most of the on-field drills.

“If I didn’t know I had a screw in my foot, I couldn’t tell,” Etienne said of his recovery (via DiRocco). “I feel like that’s a testament to where I’m at in my transition and how I’m healing.

“The screw is there. I think I will take it out. I could leave it there forever. I know most guys say leave it there, it never bothers them, but I just don’t want to be 40 years old with a screw in my foot, really.”

Considered a top prospect in the 2020 class, the Clemson product surprised many by returning for his senior season. His yards-per-carry figure dropped from 7.8 to 5.4, which probably helped the Jaguars secure him towards the end of the first round at No. 25. Despite the dropoff, he still had two 1,600-yard seasons and 70 career rushing TDs to his credit. As DiRocco writes, former head coach Urban Meyer was expected to use the rookie in “a Percy Harvin-type role,” but the preseason foot injury ended up knocking out the running back for the entire season. Of course, the injury also meant Etienne didn’t have to really deal with the turmoil surround Meyer’s brief tenure in Jacksonville, providing him with a clean slate heading into the 2022 campaign.

“Just seeing the results, you’re definitely like, ‘Whew, if there was any year to miss, I missed a great one,'” he told DiRocco.

With a new coaching staff in place, it will be interesting to see how Etienne is utilized during his first NFL season. Fellow RB James Robinson suffered an Achilles injury in December, so Etienne could find himself getting the bulk of the carries early in the season.

Jaguars Looking At OL Ekwonu With Top Pick

We wrote a bit in January about NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu potentially being the best offensive lineman in the draft. Well, he certainly thinks so, as he told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine Thursday that he’d “definitely deserve” to be drafted No. 1 overall, according to Darryl Slater of

He’s not totally off base in his thinking. ESPN’s Mel Kiper mocked Ekwonu to Jacksonville in his latest mock draft just before the Combine. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, many at the Combine, including ESPN’s Todd McShay, expected Ekwonu to blow up in Indianapolis.

There’s already been a bit of talk connecting Ekwonu to the Jaguars. General manager Trent Baalke has a tendency to prefer explosive linemen and Ekwonu demonstrated his explosiveness in field drills including an impressive sub-5.00 second 40-yard dash. Baalke and new head coach Doug Pederson will be looking to put together a group at offensive line that can protect former No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence and create holes for running backs James Robinson and Travis Etienne.

Jawaan Taylor is expected to compete with Walker Little for the right tackle job. Captain Brandon Linder should return to form at center after MCL and ankle injuries forced him to miss a large part of the 2021 NFL season. Andrew Norwell is expected to hit the free agent market and Cam Robinson could join him if the team decides not to utilize their franchise tag on Robinson for the second straight year. Veteran sixth-man Tyler Shatley was recently re-signed and Ben Bartch could help out at guard. So the versatility of Ekwonu could line him up as the perfect choice for Jacksonville’s current situation, where lots of question marks surround the depth chart. Even so, the Jaguars could also fall in love with Evan Neal, who is largely seen as the top pure tackle in the draft.

Still, the redshirt sophomore out of Raleigh is a young, talented prospect with the ability to dominate at tackle or guard. Even if he slips past Jacksonville at No. 1 overall, don’t expect him to be available after both New York teams get a chance to draft. Ekwonu will aim to be only the third Wolfpack offensive lineman in history to be picked in the first round, the highest-drafted Wolfpack prospect since Bradley Chubb in 2018, and, above that, the first top overall pick out of NC State since Mario Williams in 2006.

Latest On Jaguars’ Travis Etienne

Things didn’t go according to plan for the Jaguars in 2021, but with an new head coach in Doug Pederson, former first-overall pick Trevor Lawrence and a second straight No. 1 pick this April, there is plenty of cause for optimism in Duval County. Another reason the team may take a step forward in 2022 is the expected return of running back Travis EtienneAccording to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk, he is making progress towards being available to start the season. 

The other first round pick of the Jaguars in 2021, Etienne missed his entire rookie season due to a Lisfranc injury. That was a huge blow to the team’s offense, considering not only the talent he displayed in an illustrious career at Clemson, but his connection with Lawrence. In his absence – and, later on, that of fellow RB James Robinson – the Jags finished last in the NFL in points per game in 2021, with 14.9. Their rushing average (103 yards per game), while more respectable, would certainly stand to improve with a health halfback tandem.

My foot is doing much better“, the 23-year-old said in a recent interview. “[I] really just got back into the gym for the first time… So that’s been good and I’ve been running for a while now. I’m kind of getting to that 80% to 85% range. Definitely, just heading in the right direction”.

With a new coaching staff that will be focused in large part on rebuilding the team’s offense, much is expected of the unit in 2022. New offensive coordinator Press Taylor, Alper notes, didn’t specify if former HC Urban Meyer‘s plan to use Etienne at wideout would remain in place. Regardless of how he is deployed, the ex-Tigers star would provide a much-needed boost to Jacksonville if he is able to fully recover.