NFL sets salary cap at $255.4M. Here's what it means for the Jaguars, Allen and Lawrence

On Friday, the NFL announced the league-wide salary cap for the 2024 season will be a staggering $255.4 million per team, representing an unprecedented $30-plus million rise over last year's salary cap, which totaled $224.8 million.

For the Jacksonville Jaguars, that means the team's salary cap situation will be a bit more flexible this season. According to, the Jaguars will have about $20,520,846 to use this year. That number accounts for the rookie pool set aside and will change based on whatever the team's final draft picks are.

The number will also likely fluctuate over the coming weeks as more official numbers are realized and roster moves are made. Some movement could become known this week at the NFL Combine.

2024 NFL Scouting Combine primer: What to know and 5 players Jaguars could take a look at

That places the team in a solid situation, but more work will have to be done to make moves to improve the team in free agency.

Last year, Jacksonville prioritized savings, restructuring several deals for cap-compliance purposes while working out deals to retain their own. They brought in just a few outside free agents on cheap deals, including kicker Brandon McManus, running back D'Ernest Johnson and defensive linemen Michael Dogbe and Henry Mondeaux.

McManus was added well after free agency and the NFL Draft concluded.

One major contract negotiation the Jaguars conducted last year was with tight end Evan Engram. The team applied a one-year $11,345,000 fully guaranteed franchise tag on Engram around this time, which took up a significant portion of the team's cap space before the parties agreed to a long-term deal ahead of the July deadline.

This year, the Jaguars will be in a similar, but different, position.

With outside linebacker Josh Allen set to hit free agency, the Jaguars will likely have to apply the same principles to his negotiation as they did to Engram's — buy themselves enough time to work out a deal via the franchise tag.

Josh Allen's franchise tag value set, but will Jaguars apply it?

It feels likely that the Jaguars apply the non-exclusive franchise tag to impending free agent OLB Josh Allen.

General manager Trent Baalke made it clear that Allen would be with the Jaguars one way or another in 2024, implying they will use the franchise tag to retain him if need be.

Applying the tag will also give Jacksonville more time to negotiate with Allen before the league's July 15 deadline to sign a long-term deal. Otherwise, Allen will be forced to either sign and play this year on the franchise tag or sit until he does.

Allen's potential tag number is set... kind of.

If the Jaguars opt to tag Allen after not coming to a long-term agreement before the league's March 5 deadline, they'll owe him either the value of a defensive end or a linebacker. That distinction is important because it represents about a $3 million difference with the latter being worth more.

The defensive end tag is worth $21.816 million while the linebacker tag is worth $24.007 million for one year.

Allen is listed as an outside linebacker on the team's official pages and made the Pro Bowl as an OLB this year. It stands to reason that Allen will have a serious argument that he should be tagged as a linebacker rather than a defensive end, as a result.

In 2020, the Baltimore Ravens faced an issue where outside linebacker Matthew Judon was originally franchise-tagged as an outside linebacker. The linebacker tender was valued then at $15.828 million, while defensive ends were slated to earn $17.788 million.

Judon eventually signed a version of the franchise tag with the Ravens for $16.808 million, splitting the difference. Perhaps the inverse could happen with Allen, but it feels more likely that the team simply uses the linebacker tag and moves on rather than trying to save as many pennies as possible and risk a dispute.

With the NFL Combine taking place this week, the Jaguars and Allen's camp will have the opportunity to work out a long-term deal. More details are likely to emerge exiting the week because of it.

Trevor Lawrence's fifth-year option value set, Jaguars likely to pick it up

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) scores a two point conversion between Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day (69) and defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko (96) during the fourth quarter of an NFL first round playoff football matchup Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. The Jacksonville Jaguars edged the Los Angeles Chargers on a field goal 31-30.

While the team's decision regarding Allen will bring some intrigue, there won't be much intrigue when it comes to starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence's contract situation — at least when it comes to the QB's fifth-year option.

Lawrence's fifth-year option is set for $25,664,000. The team has not yet officially picked it up, but they will barring a contract extension ahead of the deadline.

Teams have until May 2 to make decisions regarding their first-round picks and the fifth-year option. All first-round picks are eligible to receive a fifth year added to their rookie deals. The value is based on position, playing time and Pro Bowl selections.

For Lawrence, after being selected first overall in 2021, he has met the qualifier for playing time, having played 75% or more of the team's snaps in two of his first three seasons. That puts Lawrence's fifth-year option in the second tier of compensation.

Though Lawrence made the Pro Bowl in 2022 as an alternate, alternate selections do not count toward the contract calculation.

The Jaguars have used the fifth-year option just three times in the past, including on QB Blake Bortles (2014 draft class selection), CB Jalen Ramsey (2016) and Allen (2019).

The team declined fifth-year options on OL Luke Joeckel (2013), DE Dante Fowler (2015), RB Leonard Fournette (2017) DL Taven Bryan (2018) and, most recently, OLB K'Lavon Chaisson (2020).

It would be foolish for the Jaguars not to pick up Lawrence's option. It gives the team another year, potentially, to negotiate a deal with the franchise QB at a significant discount to that of a top-of-the-line deal he will eventually sign.

Will the Jaguars pick up Travis Etienne's fifth-year option?

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. (1) runs to the sideline after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter of a regular season NFL football matchup Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Jacksonville Jaguars blanked the Carolina Panthers 26-0. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. (1) runs to the sideline after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter of a regular season NFL football matchup Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Jacksonville Jaguars blanked the Carolina Panthers 26-0. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Lawrence isn't the only Jaguars player who could get his fifth-year option picked up.

Running back Travis Etienne, who was drafted with pick No. 25 in the 2021 NFL Draft along with Lawrence, has a fifth-year option value set at $6,143,000. The option is fully guaranteed, just like Lawrence's.

Etienne gets the standard-value fifth-year option because he did not reach any playing time or Pro Bowl thresholds. Etienne missed his rookie season due to a Lisfranc injury and played just 60% of the team's offensive snaps in 2022.

Given how NFL teams have viewed the running back position as of late, it is unlikely that Etienne's option will be picked up, but time will tell as we get closer to the May 2 deadline.

Etienne has accounted for 2,133 yards, 16 rushing touchdowns, 93 catches for 792 yards and one receiving touchdown in 34 games over the last two years.

Demetrius Harvey is the Jacksonville Jaguars reporter for the Florida Times-Union. You can follow him on X,  formerly known as Twitter, at @Demetrius82.

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This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Jaguars' 2024 salary cap revealed. Allen, Lawrence contracts loom large