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

The Jacksonville Jaguars entered offseason OTAs on Monday with a significant question looming over their upcoming season.

Will quarterback Trevor Lawrence start 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 didn't offer substantial insight.

"I know [Jaguars GM] Trent [Baalke] and [Lawrence's] agent, they've continued to talk and will talk, and they're working hard and tirelessly," Pederson told reporters. "I've just got to coach Trevor and coach football, and hopefully it gets done, and it will."

As he enters his fourth NFL season, Lawrence is eligible for an extension to his rookie contract. The Jaguars have picked up the fifth-year option on that deal; he's due $11.7 million this coming season and $25.7 million in 2025 via the team option.

While signing Lawrence to an extension is something of a no-brainer, the nature of a would-be 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 drafted him first overall in 2021 in one of the most coveted draft slots in recent NFL history.

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

Lawrence struggled in his first season (12 touchdowns, 17 interceptions) under the chaotic reign of then-head coach Urban Meyer. With Pederson at the helm in 2022, Lawrence started to deliver on 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 came unexpected regression. Lawrence's touchdown-to-interception ratio dropped 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 carries that can't-miss aura, but he's unquestionably a better-than-average NFL quarterback with the physical tools and upside to be great.

Trevor Lawrence headshot
Trevor Lawrence
QB - JAX - #16
2023 - 2024 season
4,016
Yds
251
Y/G
65.6
Comp Pct
21
TD
88.5
QBRat

In a world in which quarterback competence is scarce, it's a status that demands a lucrative deal. Then again, the pressure to sign Lawrence to an extension is minimal this offseason. If they don't reach an agreement in 2024, the two sides have next offseason to figure one out. Still, signing an extension sooner than later has its advantages.

The market for quarterbacks will only go up. Locking in 2024 rates makes sense if the Jaguars believe they can reach a fair deal. Doing so could ultimately look like a bargain if Lawrence's long-term performance comes close to matching the hype. Getting a deal done now would also avoid a season filled with speculation about Lawrence's long-term future in Jacksonville.

"Obviously the sooner you get it done, right, it's behind everybody, and now we focus on football, and so that's not lingering and that's not out there," Pederson said Monday.

Baalke said in April that "we've had some great talks and great conversations" with Lawrence's representation alongside a caveat: "You can't force this stuff." Lawrence, meanwhile, hasn't said much publicly about negotiations. He was at OTAs Monday but didn't address media. He worked out without any braces or sleeves, a promising sign after an injury-plagued 2023 campaign that included a late-season high-ankle sprain.

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