Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is signed, sealed and waiting to deliver.
The No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2021 NFL draft and the presumptive savior for a beleaguered franchise, signed a rookie contract on Monday for $36.8 million, which includes $24.1 million in guaranteed money and the usual fifth-year option.
The Jaguars didn’t release the financial terms of the deal but ESPN’s Adam Schefter, citing sources, disclosed the specifics, which are standard for NFL rookies given Lawrence’s draft standing.
In addition, Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported that Lawrence passed a physical that was part of the deal and will get his signing bonus with 15 days, according to his sources. The contract includes no offset language and has automatic roster bonuses from 2022-24, which are guaranteed even if Lawrence is on the active/non-football injury list.
Offset clauses, which have been stumbling blocks in the past between NFL teams and rookies such as Joey Bosa and Marcus Mariota, enable a team to cut a player before his four-year contract is completed, and have the remaining money reduced by the amount of his next contract, if he re-signs with another team.
The only public comment from Lawrence was when he re-Tweeted the Jaguars' announcement of his signing with the comment: "Gonna give #Duval everything I got. Couldn’t be more proud to represent Jacksonville. Let’s go!!!"
Three of the nine Jaguars draft picks remain unsigned: Running back Travis Etienne, Lawrence's teammate at Clemson and the team's other first-round pick, the 25th overall; and the two second-round picks, cornerback Tyson Campbell and offensive tackle Walker Little.
Lawrence, described by scouts, national media and almost everyone else as a “generational” quarterback, led Clemson to a 34-2 record as a starter from 2018-2020 and led the Tigers to the national championship as a freshman and is the only quarterback to lead his team to three ACC titles.
He has never lost a game he started during a high school or college regular season. Lawrence’s combination of arm strength on deep throws, touch on intermediate and short routes, deceptive running ability and high football IQ made him the most coveted quarterback by NFL teams since Andrew Luck.
Lawrence completed 66.7 percent of his passes for Clemson for 10,098 yards, 90 touchdowns and only 17 interceptions. He had a 164.3 passer rating and also ran for 943 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Lawrence was 52-2 as a starter for Cartersville (Ga.) High School, which included a 41-game winning streak. He led his high school team to four regional titles and two state championships.
He is 86-4 as a starting quarterback entering the NFL.
The Jaguars secured the rights to the No. 1 overall pick by finishing 1-15 last season. Before drafting Lawrence, owner Shad Khan hired Urban Meyer, who guided Florida and Ohio State to three national championships.
The combination of Meyer and Lawrence has jump-started season-ticket sales and sparked the most optimism about the Jaguars re-inventing themselves since the franchise played its first season in 1995.
In rookie mini-camp, OTAs and two mandatory minicamps sessions, Lawrence has proven to be a quick study and had his best practice on the final minicamp day.
“He’s learning and he’s learning quickly,” said passing game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer during a video conference after the final day of mandatory minicamp -- who also declined to say that Lawrence would be the opening day starter. “He’s a terrific student of the game. He loves the mental preparation, he’s getting a feel for how we do things here, he’s just a true pleasure to coach because he loves it. He sits on every word, every phrase and every sound bite that you give him in meetings.”
Fourth-year wide receiver D.J. Chark was one of many offensive players who was optimistic about Lawrence's practice sessions.
"You have Trevor, who’s still learning, but the talent is definitely there," Chark said after one practice. "He doesn’t mind throwing it, doesn’t mind slinging it, which is something that’s going to help this offense for sure. We still have a way to go to get to where we want to be, but it’s not a bad start at all.”
Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., one of the free-agents brought in during the off-season, was even more bubbly after one practice.
''Everybody’s going around flying fast and making big plays as we should and as we knew we were going to do,'' Jones said. ''Everybody’s been great taking the coaching and just having a good time. So, we’re just going to continue to do that.”
Schottenheimer said Lawrence bounced back from some early struggles and ended the OTAs and minicamp on a high note.
“As a coach, you get excited about that because you see he’s getting better, he’s stacking good days on top of one another,” Schottenheimer said.
Lawrence had off-season surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder and strained a hamstring during one OTA session. The team has been cautious with his workload and Meyer ended minicamp by praising Lawrence for his progress despite the minor physical setbacks.
“[Lawrence and Schottenheimer] have been working on this well before the draft,” Meyer said. “His retention and carry-over have been very good. Execution at times, like you would imagine, has been up and down, especially when they start changing the looks up on defense—which obviously is going to happen a ton. But we’re very pleased with where he is. The summer is going to be great and training camp is going to be great.”
The next step will be training camp, will begins on July 27, where Lawrence and the rest of the team will be in pads and be in full contact for the first time. Fans are expected to get their first look at Lawrence a few days later.
The only home preseason game will be Aug. 14 against the Cleveland Browns. The Jaguars open the season on Sept. 12 at Houston and play at home for the first time on Sept. 19 against Denver.
2022 NFL mock draft: Way-too-early projections
7. Atlanta (66/1) — Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
Harris had 79 tackles — one behind Dylan Moses for the team lead — 4.5 sacks and an interception as a sophomore. Top needs: RB, Edge, LB
8. N.Y. Giants (66/1) — Drake Jackson, Edge, USC
Jackson can play in space or rush the passer off the edge. In 2019, he was the first true freshman to start a season opener for the Trojans on the defensive line since Everson Griffen in 2007 (and just the second since Tim Ryan in 1986). Top needs: OL, Edge, S
10. Philadelphia (50/1) — Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Elam took a step back after an impressive freshman campaign in 2019. He'll be hard to pass on as a 6-foot-2 corner with elite ball skills if he can fine-tune his technique and become a more reliable tackler. Top needs: CB, LB, OL
11. N.Y. Giants from Chicago (50/1) — Zion Nelson, OT, Miami
The 6-foot-5, 315 pound Nelson has developed into one of the premier pass blockers in college football. Top needs: OL, Edge, S
12. Carolina (50/1) — Evan Neal, OL, Alabama
The massive Neal — he's 6-foot-7, 360 pounds — played right guard as a freshman for the Crimson Tide before moving to right tackle in 2020. He'll replace first-round pick Alex Leatherwood at left tackle next season. Top needs: OL, LB, S
14. Arizona (40/1) — Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Cross is a powerful blocker who can do damage at the second level in the run game with premium athleticism and his target-lock awareness. Top-10 is a possibility if he develops as a pass protector. Top needs: OT, Edge, TE
15. Minnesota (40/1) — Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama
Jobe would have been a day two pick had he declared for the 2021 NFL Draft, but he decided to return to Tuscaloosa for a little bit more seasoning. Top needs: CB, S, WR
16. New England (30/1) — Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
The Mission Hills product shunned millions of dollars to come back for his senior season in Columbus and will likely be a top-three prospect at the position in 2022. Top needs: WR, CB, OL
19. Tennessee (25/1) — Cade Mays, OL, Tennessee
Mays has the talent and size (6-6, 325) to play all five positions on the offensive line. He's likely the most refined blocker in college football. Top needs: WR, LB, OL
20. Dallas (25/1) — Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan
Hutchinson suffered season-ending ankle surgery in 2020, but he was disruptive as a sophomore in 2019. He produced 4.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, six pass deflections and two forced fumbles. Top needs: Edge, OL, S
21. Cleveland (25/1) — Xavier Thomas, Edge, Clemson
This projection is based on Thomas' special talent, but he has to stay healthy and develop consistency. Top needs: Edge, WR, DT
23. N.Y. Jets from Seattle (22/1) — Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State
Walker would have heard his name called had he declared for the 2021 NFL Draft, but his current developmental trajectory puts him as one of the first offensive lineman off the board in 2022. Top needs: CB, TE, S
24. Indianapolis (20/1) — Jon Metchie, WR, Alabama
Metchie could be the fifth Alabama wide receiver selected in the first round in three years. He had 916 yards on 55 receptions and six touchdowns in an offense dominated by Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith and Najee Harris. He'll be Bryce Young's clear-cut number one target in the fall. Top needs: OT, WR, CB
25. New Orleans (18/1) — Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
Davis would've likely been the first defensive tackle selected this year had he left school — Christian Barmore was selected by the Patriots in the second round with the 38th overall pick. Top needs: WR, DT, QB
27. Baltimore (12/1) — Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
Linderbaum was recruited as a defensive lineman, but switched to the offensive line during bowl prep of his freshman season and has never looked back. He heads into the fall as the top center in college football. Top needs: OT, DL, C
28. Buffalo (12/1) — Sevyn Banks, CB, Ohio State
Every starting cornerback for the Buckeyes since 2013 have been drafted — seven in the first round. Banks has the physical traits and skillset to keep the party going. Top needs: CB, LB, WR
30. Tampa Bay (10/1) — George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue
The pandemic limited Karlaftis to only three games last fall (he still had two sacks), but he was an AP Freshman All-American in 2019 after producing 7.5 sacks with 17 tackles for loss as a true freshman. Top needs: DL, WR, CB
31. Green Bay (9/1) — Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
Winfrey's quickness makes him a disruptive force on the interior. He'll be the anchor of a potentially dominant Sooners defense this season. Top needs: LB, WR, DL