With extension looming, can Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence put it all together in 2024?


Trevor Lawrence‘s mega extension is inevitable. Contract talks between his reps and the Jaguars‘ top brass have been ongoing for months. 

Before the 2024 regular season, the sides are expected to reach agreement on a deal that will make Lawrence one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. It will likely surpass $50 million in average annual value, just as Jared Goff‘s new contract with the Detroit Lions did earlier this month. 

“Obviously, the sooner you get it done, it’s behind everybody, and now we focus on football,” coach Doug Pederson said last week. 

While Lawrence’s deal appears to be a given, what about elite play from the quarterback entering Year 4? 

That’s what Jacksonville and the NFL world will be expecting from Lawrence in his third season with offensive guru Pederson. After seemingly ascending into true franchise quarterback status in the second half of the 2022 season, when the Jaguars won the AFC South and a playoff game, Lawrence took a step back last year. Inconsistency has defined his play since he entered the NFL in 2021 as the No. 1 overall pick. 

In that span, he leads the NFL with 60 turnovers.

Pederson said earlier this offseason that cutting down on the giveaways is the biggest thing that Lawrence needs to improve. But it’s the play of the offensive personnel around him that may ultimately dictate if he can reach his full potential. 

Near the top of the list is first-round pick Brian Thomas Jr. With Calvin Ridley‘s departure in free agency and Zay Jones‘ release as a cap casualty, the former LSU star faces pressure to be a hit in Year 1. Ridley was not only Jacksonville’s lone top wideout to play all 17 games last season, but he also led the team with 1,016 receiving yards. And Jones, though he missed eight games due to injury, was a respected team leader. In 2022, when he played in 16 games, he had a career-high 823 receiving yards. 

Thomas possesses great size for an outside receiver (listed at 6-foot-3 and 209 pounds) and the speed to get behind a defense. Of his FBS-leading 17 receiving touchdowns last season, 12 came on throws of 20-plus yards, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Receivers Christian Kirk (missed five games last season with a core muscle injury) and Gabe Davis (signed a three-year, $39 million deal in free agency) will need to play well, too, but they’re known commodities as veteran players. Thomas has the upside to significantly elevate Jacksonville’s passing attack. 

Jags reportedly preparing to give Trevor Lawrence deal worth $50M a year

Lawrence’s success will also depend largely on the offensive line. 

Last season, various injuries up front created a revolving door of bodies, particularly on the left side, hurting the run game that was supposed to take pressure off Lawrence. The team ranked 23rd in rushing yards per game and 31st in rushing yards per attempt. From Weeks 10-18 last season, when offensive-line shuffling reached its peak, running back Travis Etienne Jr. averaged 47.2 rushing yards per game — down from 72.8 in the first half of the season. 

The Jags are banking on continuity and better injury luck to improve the rushing attack. Left tackle Cam Robinson, thought to be a cap casualty candidate, was retained. Jacksonville also extended left guard Ezra Cleveland and restructured right guard Brandon Scherff‘s contract, assuring his place on the roster in 2024. 

The new face is free-agent acquisition Mitch Morse, a center who has played 126 games with the Bills and Chiefs, two of the AFC’s top teams over the past several years. His presence could be a steadying force for Lawrence. 

Though the season remains months away, the Jaguars have seen Lawrence make strides.

“He’s becoming the vocal leader in the locker room, on the field, in meetings,” Pederson said Tuesday. “He’s engaging. When we got him three years ago, he was just learning our system and kind of quiet and just trying to go through the motions a little bit of just trying to adapt to us and get a feel for us. … Now he’s giving us suggestions and ideas and really becoming another coach, a set of eyes on the field. 

“That’s just his growth. That is his development as a quarterback and not changing a lot schematically. Repetition goes a long way, and utilizing that repetition to benefit your football team. That’s where Trevor has really taken the next step. Now, it’s got to translate on the field, into wins and losses and touchdowns versus interceptions.”

Is it a mistake for the Jaguars to extend Lawrence?

Quarterbacks who’ve recently joined the $50 million per year club have had mixed results in their first season under the new contract. 

Last year, the BengalsJoe Burrow was held to 10 games due to a season-ending wrist injury. The Chargers’ Justin Herbert was held to 13 games after breaking a finger. 

But there’s also the RavensLamar Jackson, who won his second NFL MVP award. And the EaglesJalen Hurts made his second straight Pro Bowl appearance and played all 17 games for the first time in his career.

Lawrence figures to be in their shoes this season, playing his first year of a big deal. 

The difference? The others were more accomplished. 

“I can’t lie. Obviously, it would be nice to have that done and feel good about it,” Lawrence said last month of his contract situation. “I know where we’re at, I know where we’re heading, and I know what I have to do. I know there’s some improvements that I have to [make] going forward.”

With big money for Lawrence coming sooner or later, the pressure for him to meet the expectations that followed him out of Clemson will only be amplified. 

The big question is: How will he respond?

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 SeattlePI.com for three seasons (2018-20) prior to moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.

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