Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, reportedly hasn't signed his rookie contract because of ongoing discussions about whether there should be offset language in the deal.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported the update Thursday on SportsCenter:
"Lawrence's contract is not done, it's probably a bit of a standoff because with these rookie deals it's about offset language in those third and fourth years. If somebody gets injured, then the offset language can play a part. I'm told Jacksonville hasn't found a sweet spot yet. They haven't relented on wanting the offset language in the deal. So that could mean that this takes a little bit of time for them to come to an agreement. Zach Wilson, the No. 2 pick behind him with the Jets, he's waiting as well. So, those dominoes will fall into place, but it could just be closer to training camp."
The NFL's rookie wage scale has made deals with incoming players pretty straightforward and minimized holdouts among draftees in recent years, but the use of offset language has typically been the sticking point whenever contract talks do linger.
In Lawrence's case, he's projected to receive a four-year, $36.7 million contract from the Jags, who will also hold a fifth-year team option, per Spotrac.
Offset language comes into play if a player is released during their rookie deal. With the language, any guaranteed money the player receives in a contract from another team is removed from the amount owed by his original team. Without it, the team remains on the hook for the full amount with no impact based on the new deal the player signs elsewhere.
It shouldn't be a major issue when it comes to Lawrence and the Jaguars since his chances of getting released inside the next four years are virtually zero, but there's also an element players and agents trying to set the standard for future rookies, as well.
Regardless, there's no reason to believe the 21-year-old Clemson product won't be on the field when the Jaguars open training camp July 27.
Lawrence is coming off a decorated college career that saw him complete 66.6 percent of his throws for 10,098 yards with 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions across 40 games for the Tigers. He added 943 rushing yards and 18 scores on the ground.
The Jags feature ample playmaking talent—James Robinson, Travis Etienne, D.J. Chark Jr, Marvin Jones Jr. and Laviska Shenault Jr.—which should allow him to make a smooth transition to the NFL and make him a strong contender for Rookie of the Year honors.
After June's minicamp, the prized prospect credited offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and passing game assistant Brian Schottenheimer for helping him learn the offense quickly.
"[The learning process] has been great. Obviously two great offensive minds that have been able to work together and come up with a great scheme," Lawrence told reporters. "I think the best thing about the offense is it gives the quarterback a lot of answers. So, you have a lot of tools, you just have to know how to use them."
The quarterback's arrival combined with the hire of new head coach Urban Meyer gives the Jags a chance to make substantial strides after posting an NFL-worst 1-15 record last year.
Their new era will begin when they open the regular season Sept. 12 by visiting the AFC South rival Houston Texans.