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Can Brian Thomas Jr. Be the Missing Piece for Trevor Lawrence’s Contract Year?

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is in a pivotal contract year after the organization signed his $25.7 million fifth-year option in April. The 24-year-old first overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft has had a rollercoaster of a career so far. His rookie campaign saw flashes of his ability but with then head coach Urban Meyer leading the team, internal struggles plagued his rookie year.

With the addition of head coach Doug Pederson in 2022, the Jaguars finished with a 9-8 record making the playoffs for the first time since the 2017 NFL season. This is the season in which they went to the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots before slowly collapsing. Pederson has brought consistency within the program along with high standards. In 2023, the team once again finished with a winning record (9-8) but failed to reach the postseason due to a collapse after starting the season 8-3.

Lawrence struggled with some health issues along with losing his number one receiver in Christian Kirk due to injury. Prior to Lawrence’s injury on Monday Night Football, his last sixteen regular season games had the team going 13-3 with Lawrence throwing 20 passing touchdowns and rushing for five. It tied the best record during that time span and the Jaguars were poised to once again build upon their recent success, had the injuries not started to pile up.

The organization lost receiver Calvin Ridley to the Tennessee Titans during the offseason in which he signed a massive four-year $92 million contract. The 6-foot-1 190-pound receiver caught 76 passes for 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns while playing the entire 17-game regular season for Jacksonville.

Due to losing Ridley in the offseason, the team decided to use their 2024 first-round draft selection on wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. The LSU product caught 68 receptions for 1,177 yards and 17 touchdowns in just thirteen games last season, which is a 17.3 yards per play average. His explosive ability is a game-changer and one may argue that he may be a more well-rounded receiver than Ridley was during his Jaguars’ short stay… only time will tell.

Thomas Jr. is exactly the type of play-maker that Lawrence and the Jaguars need in 2024. The team is looking to make the playoffs after failing to do so last season in a crowded AFC South Division. Lawrence is also in a contract year and is looking to take a giant step forward after being considered just a mediocre quarterback over the last several seasons.

Statistically in his NFL career, Lawrence has thrown 58 touchdowns to 39 interceptions for 11,770 yards and an 85.0 passer rating, which has not been good enough for the former number one overall draft pick.

With the addition of Thomas Jr. and a healthy Kirk, this should improve not only Lawrence’s statistical numbers but also the wins in 2024.


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