Big money came to Trevor Lawrence because he was next on the list of top quarterbacks to be paid. 

Last offseason was for the likes of Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson. This offseason has been for Lawrence and Jared Goff. Next on the list are Dak Prescott, Tua Tagovailoa and Jordan Love, all three of whom could also receive their paydays as soon as this summer. 

It’s the way of the market. You don’t have to be a consensus top-five player at your position to get the latest record-setting contract. It’s about timing. 

Thursday was Lawrence’s time. He agreed to terms on a five-year, $275 million extension with the Jacksonville Jaguars that includes $200 million guaranteed and $142 million fully guaranteed, a source confirmed to FOX Sports. At $55 million per year, Lawrence ties Burrow for the highest average annual value in league history. The former Clemson star is under contract through 2030. 

Now, can Lawrence live up to the deal? 

The No. 1 overall pick in 2021, Lawrence has had flashes of greatness. He had 15 passing touchdowns to just two interceptions in the Jaguars’ last eight games of the 2022 season, guiding Jacksonville to a stunning AFC South title and playoff win. He had a passer rating over 100 in seven of his first 12 games that season.

But his spurts of poor decision-making and propensity for turnovers can leave league observers shaking their heads. He has a league-leading 60 giveaways since entering the league. Lawrence has yet to put together a full season of consistent, elite play. 

The Jaguars have poured resources into building the team around Lawrence, to maximize the potential that made him a generational prospect coming out of Clemson. 

This offseason, they lost top receiver Calvin Ridley in free agency and released Zay Jones, but they added veteran Gabe Davis and first-round pick Brian Thomas Jr., who led the FBS in receiving touchdowns last season. They’ve prioritized continuity on the offensive line — extending left guard Ezra Cleveland, restructuring Brandon Scherff and retaining left tackle Cam Robinson, who was thought to be a cap casualty candidate — to improve the run game. They added an experienced center in Mitch Morse, who has snapped for elite quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. On the defensive side of the ball, they’ve added the likes of defensive tackle Arik Armstead, safety Darnell Savage and cornerback Ronald Darby

Overall, the Jaguars have prioritized the integration of playoff-seasoned players to prevent last season’s collapse — a 1-5 finish after starting the year 8-3 — from happening again.  

These players should not only help shoulder the leadership load with Lawrence (and outside linebacker Josh Allen), but also show him how to do it effectively. 

“He’s becoming the vocal leader in the locker room, on the field, in meetings,” coach Doug Pederson said this offseason of Lawrence’s growth. “He’s engaging. When we got him three years ago, he was just learning our system and kind of quiet and just trying to go through the motions a little bit of just trying to adapt to us and get a feel for us. … Now he’s giving us suggestions and ideas and really becoming another coach, a set of eyes on the field.”

After the 2022 season, Lawrence appeared to be approaching superstardom. But his numbers regressed in most major categories in 2023 — completion rate, passing yards, passing touchdowns, interceptions, passer rating and EPA per dropback among them. 

The setback requires context, though. 

The Jaguars offense didn’t have the same flow last season with offensive coordinator Press Taylor calling plays (Pederson said there’s been no decision on who will call plays in 2024). Injuries to the team’s top receivers were rampant. An injury-riddled offensive line impacted the rushing attack. 

Lawrence had his own health challenges, too. He missed the first game of his career and a substantial amount of practice in the second half of the season. He suffered a concussion and battled shoulder, knee and ankle issues. 

But Lawrence is entering Year 4. The inconsistencies must be eliminated. 

It’s time to finally show that he’s worth the money that’s now his. 

Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports. He previously worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where he was the Titans beat writer for a year and a half. He covered the Seattle Seahawks for for three seasons (2018-20) prior to moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.

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