Fine Print

By: Michael Spiers news services

Is Trevor Lawrence’s new deal as record breaking as it seems?

When it comes to NFL contracts, the big numbers you see in the headlines are often misleading.

Take Trevor Lawrence’s new deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, for example. His five-year extension, worth $275 million, certainly grabbed attention. But, as usual with NFL contracts, the real story is in the fine print.

Trevor Lawrence, the Jaguars’ star quarterback, just signed a massive contract extension, but the numbers aren’t as straightforward as they appear.

The deal, which includes $200 million in guarantees and $142 million fully guaranteed, averages out to $55 million a year. This seemingly ties him with Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals for the highest annual salary in the league. Yet, when you dig deeper, the deal isn’t as stellar as it seems.

Former Packers executive Andrew Brandt explains that to understand an NFL contract’s true value, you need to focus on the yearly cash flow, not just the headline numbers.

In his analysis, Lawrence’s contract doesn’t compare favorably to other top quarterbacks. For instance, in the first year of his new deal, Lawrence will pocket $39 million. While that’s no small change, it’s much less than the $80 million-plus that quarterbacks like Jared Goff and Lamar Jackson will earn.

Even after two years, Lawrence’s $76.5 million trails behind guys like Jackson and Burrow, who will rake in $111 million over the same period.

Over three and four years, this trend continues, with Lawrence making $114 million and $155 million, respectively, while others are pulling in significantly more, such as Jackson, who will make $207 million, and Burrow, who will earn $181 million over the same periods.

So, even though Lawrence’s contract looks record-breaking at first glance, it’s actually on the lower end compared to other recent quarterback deals when you look at the cash he’ll earn in the first few years.

This deal ties Lawrence to the Jaguars until 2030, giving him a solid financial foundation but not as much upfront cash as his peers.

For 2023, under his rookie contract, he only made $1.5 million. From 2026, his new contract will start paying out more substantially. It includes a $37.5 million signing bonus and guarantees that balance his financial security with the team’s salary cap.

There’s also a $35 million guaranteed option bonus in 2025 and 2026. The deal includes a no-trade clause and a potential out in 2029, making it more player-friendly.

Lawrence, picked first overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, has been the face of the Jaguars and a crucial player for them. He’s racked up over 11,700 passing yards and 58 touchdowns, ranking fourth in franchise history for both stats. He’s been a team captain each year and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2022 after throwing for over 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. In 2023, he kept up his strong performance with another solid season.

The Jaguars clearly see Lawrence as their guy for the long haul, hoping he’ll lead them to future success, maybe even a Super Bowl.

For Lawrence, this big contract is both a financial win and a sign of his commitment to the team. Despite the pressure of such a huge deal, he’s focused on playing well and helping the Jaguars achieve their goals.

Ultimately, while the headline figures of Lawrence’s new contract seem huge, a closer look shows it’s less impressive when compared to other recent quarterback deals. The NFL’s funny money game continues, where contracts aren’t always what they seem at first glance.

It’s been a busy and eventful offseason for the quarterback. In addition to the recent news of the contract extension, Lawrence and his wife, Marissa, announce last week that they are expecting their first child.