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Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, recently wrapped up an injury-riddled third season as the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback.
Lawrence signed a four-year contract with the Jaguars, making him eligible for an extension this offseason. Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke is tasked with making a decision on Lawrence’s long-term future with the team.
The Jaguars could let Lawrence play out the 2024 season under the final year of his rookie deal, or they could pick up his fifth-year option, which would tie the young quarterback to the franchise through the 2025 season. Baalke spoke with reporters on Thursday and suggested that the organization is open to getting a long-term deal done with Lawrence at some point before the 2024 season kicks off.
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Quarterback Trevor Lawrence of the Jaguars looks to pass against the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Stadium on Oct. 15, 2023, in Jacksonville, Florida. (Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
But Baalke cautioned that contract talks would not be rushed and would only happen when the timing is right.
“As far as Trevor and the long-term relationship with this team, there’s no doubt in that,” Baalke said. “We’re going to get something done at the appropriate time.”
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Lawrence’s consecutive starts streak came to an end this past season, as he dealt with injury. Despite playing in 16 games instead of 17, his 2023 passing yardage was similar to his 2022 output. Lawrence finished his most recent campaign with 4,016 through the air, which was just short of his 4,113 yardage.
But, Lawrence’s turnovers spiked in 2023, with the signal caller throwing 14 interceptions. He finished the 2022 season with just 8 interceptions.
Head coach Doug Pederson and Trent Baalke of the Jaguars talk during the Miami Dolphins game at EverBank Stadium on Aug. 26, 2023, in Jacksonville. (Perry Knotts/Getty Images)
But Lawrence dealt with at least four injuries during the year. He sprained his AC joint while diving for a first down on a fourth-and-1 play in the third quarter of a 30-12 loss at Tampa Bay in December. He struggled to lift his arm in the locker room after the game.
He exited three games over the course of the year due to injuries: a sprained ankle against Cincinnati, a concussion against Baltimore and a sprained shoulder against the Buccaneers.
Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is attended on the field after he was injured during the Cincinnati Bengals game, Dec. 4, 2023, in Jacksonville. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Baalke added that one of the team’s offseason priorities will be finding ways to put the star quarterback in a better position to stay healthy next season.
“I think Trevor had another learning year, right? Like we all do when we’re a third-year guy in this league,” Baalke said. “I think there are some areas he made great strides in. You look at this season, one thing we’ve got to do is we’ve got to – two things, it works both ways – we’ve got to do a better job of keeping him safe and protected and he’s got to do a better job of protecting himself.
“Unfortunately, he had four key injuries this year. When your quarterback has a throwing-shoulder injury, a knee injury, an ankle injury, and a concussion all in one year, that’s alarming. So, we’ve got to work to improve that. And that’s not one factor – there’s a lot of things that contribute to that. But we do have to do a better job there.”
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Lawrence has thrown for more than 11,000 yards over his 50 career starts. Baalke expressed confidence about being able to work out a deal to retain Jaguars star pass rusher Josh Allen. The two-time Pro Bowler is a free agent,
Allen finished the 2023 season with 17.5 sacks. But, Baalke strongly hinted that the 26-year-old Allen would not be on the open market for very long. “Yeah, Josh will be a Jaguar,” Baalke said.
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