Trevor Lawrence isn't eligible for a contract extension until after the 2023 season, but that isn't stopping the Jacksonville Jaguars from budgeting for that eventual hefty payday.
"We know what the future holds," coach Doug Pederson recently told Jeff Howe of The Athletic. "But it's also been proven in the NFL that you can pay your quarterback and still keep a pretty good roster around your quarterback. It's been done. We've got to be able to look at those models, too. I guess the beauty, too, is we've got the majority of our guys in long-term deals, so that will also help us when we get ready to redo Trevor in a year or so.
"I kind of let (general manager) Trent (Baalke) and (director of roster management) Trip (MacCracken) handle that and all the powers that be over on that side of the equation. My job is to get our team ready right now with the guys we have. We'll cross that bridge a year from now."
The going rate for young franchise quarterbacks is already north of $45 million per year. That figure could grow even further depending on how the contract situations of Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert play out in the coming months.
Lawrence struggled during the tumultuous Urban Meyer season as a rookie. But in Doug Pederson's first year, the QB flashed the ability that made him the sure-fire No. 1 overall pick in 2021. He's got the arm talent to put the ball anywhere, accuracy, athleticism, and his pocket presence has improved.
"He's constantly wanting to get better," Pederson told Howe. "He's constantly wanting to learn. He's wanting to grow. He puts in the time. That's what great quarterbacks do in this league, and he's just getting started."
The 23-year-old's play under Pederson, including a mind-boggling wild-card comeback win over the Los Angeles Chargers, confirmed the Jags' confidence he'd be their long-term franchise quarterback.
"It changes everything because now we've got a full season under our belt," Pederson said. "There is going to be so much more consistency and so much more continuity. Trevor knows the roster. Trevor knows the guys he's throwing with -- other than Calvin Ridley. We'll add that piece. We're going to try to get Evan Engram back (franchise tagged). That's another big piece to this.
"That confidence is going to be so much greater this year. That expectation to win, which we saw at the end of the season? Now guys expect that. Now, we've got to go play well, don't get me wrong. We've got a great schedule this year. That's the difference between last year, starting over with everything, to now having a full year, making the postseason, winning a playoff game -- that just gives you confidence going into this year."
If Lawrence leads the Jags even deeper into the postseason this year, that future contract will only get more expensive. But it's a bill Jacksonville would be happy to pay.