Home Sports Doug Pederson: Trevor Lawrence ‘hopefully’ signs extension with Jaguars ‘sooner’ than later

Doug Pederson: Trevor Lawrence ‘hopefully’ signs extension with Jaguars ‘sooner’ than later

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Trevor Lawrence runs a drill at the Jaguars' OTAs on Monday. (David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Jacksonville Jaguars began offseason OTAs on Monday with a big question about their upcoming season.

Will quarterback Trevor Lawrence enter the season with a contract extension in hand? The answer as of Monday remained uncertain. Head coach Doug Pederson attempted to shed some light when asked about the situation, but offered no substantive information.

“I know (Jaguars general manager) Trent (Baalke) and (Lawrence’s) agent, they have continued to talk and will continue to talk, and they are working hard and tirelessly.” Pederson told reporters. “I just have to coach Trevor and coach football, and I hope it gets done, and it will.”

Entering his fourth NFL season, Lawrence is eligible for an extension to his rookie contract. The Jaguars have exercised the fifth-year option on that deal; He is owed $11.7 million next season and $25.7 million in 2025 via team option.

While signing Lawrence to an extension is a no-brainer, the nature of a potential deal is less so. Coming out of Clemson, Lawrence was considered as close to a can’t-miss prospect as a quarterback can be. The Jaguars selected him first overall in 2021 in one of the most coveted draft spots in recent NFL history.

Trevor Lawrence runs a drill at the Jaguars’ OTAs on Monday. (David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Lawrence struggled in his first season (12 touchdowns, 17 interceptions) under then-head coach Urban Meyer’s chaotic reign. With Pederson at the helm in 2022, Lawrence began to fulfill his promise with a 25-touchdown, eight-interception campaign that resulted in a Pro Bowl berth and helped lead the Jaguars to the second round of the playoffs.

In 2023 there was an unexpected regression. Lawrence’s touchdown-to-interception ratio fell to 21-to-14, and the Jaguars collapsed from a 6-2 start to a 9-8 finish and missed the playoffs. Lawrence no longer has that can’t-miss aura, but he’s certainly a better-than-average NFL quarterback with the physical tools and upside to be great.

In a world where quarterback competition is scarce, it’s a status that demands a lucrative deal. On the other hand, the pressure to sign Lawrence to an extension is minimal this offseason. If they don’t reach an agreement in 2024, the two sides will have the next offseason to reach an agreement. Still, signing an extension sooner rather than later has its advantages.

The quarterback market will only increase. Locking in rates for 2024 makes sense if the Jaguars believe they can reach a fair deal. Ultimately, doing so could look like a bargain if Lawrence’s long-term performance comes close to expectations. Reaching a deal now would also avoid a season filled with speculation about Lawrence’s long-term future in Jacksonville.

“Obviously, the sooner you do it, everyone has moved on from it, and now we’re focused on football, so that doesn’t linger and it’s not there,” Pederson said Monday.

Baalke said in April that “we’ve had great conversations and great conversations” with Lawrence’s representation. along with a warning: “You can’t force these things.” Meanwhile, Lawrence hasn’t said much publicly about the negotiations. He was at the OTAs on Monday. but he did not address the media. He worked out without braces or sleeves, a promising sign after an injury-plagued 2023 campaign that included a late-season sprained ankle.

For now, the focus remains on that progress as the Jaguars look ahead to the season. But until a deal is reached, questions about Lawrence’s long-term status in Jacksonville will remain.

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