National Football League
What Trevor Lawrence’s extension means for Jaguars’ contention in 2024 and beyond
National Football League

What Trevor Lawrence’s extension means for Jaguars’ contention in 2024 and beyond

Published Jun. 19, 2024 2:37 p.m. ET

Trevor Lawrence's new mega deal can raise eyebrows at first glance. 

Despite a league-leading 60 turnovers since entering the league in 2021, a middling 85.0 passer rating, a 20-30 regular season record and just one playoff victory, Lawrence secured a five-year, $275 million extension from the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. It ties him with the Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Burrow as the highest-paid player in league history in regard to average annual value ($55 million per year). 

The deal also includes $200 million in total guarantees, the fourth-most in the NFL, and $142 million fully guaranteed, third-most. 

"I am beyond grateful to be able to continue my career in Jacksonville," Lawrence said last week. "I know that the best is yet to come and this is only the beginning. The drive to bring a championship to Duval is bigger than ever."


Don't let the numbers on the surface fool you, though. When you actually drill down, this looks like a team-friendly, franchise quarterback contract. 

By extending Lawrence now, with two years remaining on his rookie deal (2024 and 2025, his fifth-year option season), the Jaguars get the former No. 1 pick under contract for the next seven seasons. He was due $45.158 million combined in 2024-25 before the extension. So across the next seven years, his true average annual value is just over $45.7 million, which is more palpable for his résumé. 

And if Lawrence plays as Jacksonville hopes in 2024 (and beyond) with a revamped supporting cast, the contract could look like a bargain in the long term. 

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Quarterback contracts are ballooning — the first $60 million-per-year player may come this offseason — and it would've cost the Jaguars significantly more if they had waited to pay Lawrence.

"With this five-year extension, the vision we had when we selected Trevor first overall in 2021 has become a reality," general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "Our objectives have always been aligned. As an organization, we have consistently messaged the importance of extending our core players, and Trevor is a foundational talent that we will continue to build around in our quest for a championship. With his talent, work ethic, leadership and competitive drive, we are confident the best is yet to come."

Lawrence's cap hit for 2024 will be $15.029 million, which accounts for less than 6% of the Jaguars' salary cap. His cap number is reasonable the following three seasons as well — at $17 million, $24 million and $35 million, respectively. That preserves Jacksonville's window of contention with the roster as currently constructed. Key contributors with large cap numbers like wide receiver Christian Kirk, tight end Evan Engram, linebacker Foye Oluokun and defensive lineman Arik Armstead are under contract through 2027.

If Lawrence progresses as expected, the Jaguars can rework his deal or give him another extension before his cap hit grows astronomical (it jumps to $47 million in 2028, then to $78.5 million). But drafting and developing is still paramount for Jacksonville over the next couple of seasons, so it can adequately replace aging veterans in the long term and contend with Lawrence approaching his 30s. 

During the offseason program, the Jags mixed young backups with starters during team drills, according to local media.

"Coach and I have talked a lot about this year's class in particular," Baalke said in January, referring to Doug Pederson. "The onboarding process of them, getting them up to speed, trusting them. You're in a developmental league now. You don't have time to say that we can shelf them for a year or shelf them for two years. You have to get them up to speed quickly."

Did the Jaguars pay Trevor Lawrence too soon?

Lawrence's extension is as much about optics as it is about money. 

Historically, the Jaguars have had a losing franchise. Their best-ever quarterback before Lawrence was Mark Brunnell, a fifth-round pick in the 1990s who became a three-time Pro Bowler. The Jaguars and the city of Jacksonville also have a proposed $1.4 billion deal to renovate EverBank Stadium, raising the pressure to sell tickets. Lawrence, who grew up in Georgia, represents a massive draw. 

Sure, he hasn't fully lived up to expectations. But he has flashed greatness and led Jacksonville to back-to-back winning seasons and a playoff victory. From the franchise's point of view, there's enough there to justify the long-term investment. 

The Jaguars had to pay him. 

"To get it done comfortably and amicably ahead of training camp, as with the long-term agreement we reached in April with Josh Allen, is a further statement that the Jacksonville Jaguars are committed to winning now and for many seasons to come," owner Shad Khan said. 

Now, the challenge for Lawrence and the Jaguars is consistent contention for the playoffs and beyond.

Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports. He previously worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where he was the Titans beat writer for a year and a half. He covered the Seattle Seahawks for for three seasons (2018-20) prior to moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.

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