June 22, 2024

Argue With Myself- Trevor Lawrence

13 min read
Trevor Lawrence was drafted as a generational talent. Part way into his 3rd year things aren't looking as hopeful as people expected. @theDunit13 breaks down the internal argument we all have or should be having in regards to the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback and what his future might hold for him in the NFL and on your dynasty roster.

Superstars like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees are gone. The weekly starters of Ben Roethlisberger, Phillips Rivers, and Matt Ryan no longer grace fantasy lineups. The fantasy landscape has shifted to superflex leagues where the quarterback position is at a premium. The NFL as a whole is run by and through the quarterback position. It seems every year there is a crop of new young guys being touted as the next savior of franchises. With that, we look at the internal debate I have with myself over a former 1st overall pick who has had his ups and downs and where his future might be pointing. I argue with myself over Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. 

 

Optimistic Me

The Jaguars are up on the upswing. They went from a 1-15 team that drafted Trevor Lawrence to a 3-14 team to a 9-8 team. They are young. They have the sixth youngest roster in the NFL with guys on their rookie deals in Lawrence, Travis Etienne, and Tank Bigsby. They have yet to draft a wide receiver but have made career wide receiver twos like Zay Jones and Christian Kirk look like ones on that team. They were even able to turn the one-time bust Evan Engram into a good tight end. That’s all due to the play of Trevor Lawrence. They brought in a new coach to develop a winning culture and even more so the owner has money and isn’t afraid to spend it. 

 

Pessimistic Me

While the Jags have gotten better putting that all on Lawrence might be a bit much. Let’s break down the 9-8 record. It’s not overly great to begin with. They only beat 3 teams who finished the season with a winning record and one of them was an overtime win against the Cowboys. They were 10th in points for but 20th in points against. They had a pretty easy schedule yet barely finished over .500. Lawrence was highly inconsistent through those games. Trevor Lawrence is currently in the 3rd year of his rookie contract. The Jaguars will have to decide after this season. They can pick up his fifth-year option and keep him on the team through the 2025 season. If they don’t want to sign him to a contract after that they could franchise tag him. But the franchise tag would put him at the average of the five highest-paid quarterbacks. It’s a large sum with a heavy cap hit for a guy who has yet to finish there. 

 

Optimistic Me

Trevor Lawrence has had the unfortunate situation of coaching changes. He started his rookie year with Urban Meyer as his head coach with Darrell Bevel as the offensive coordinator. That didn’t even last a full season. Once Meyer was dismissed from his coaching duties Bevell moved up and Brian Schotenheimer who was the quarterbacks and passing game coordinator took over more of a role in the overall offense. In 2022 the Jaguars brought in Doug Pederson to be the head coach who hired Pres Taylor as offensive coordinator and Jim Bob Cooter as passing game Coordinator. It seemed that Pederson was calling the plays more than Taylor who was still getting a handle on the role. 2023 comes and Pres Taylor is now calling plays. Cooter is gone and replaced with Nick Holz. Give Lawrence some consistency in scheme and coaching and he will shine. 

 

Pessimistic Me

Yes, the first year is a wash. Nothing was working for the Jags under Urban Meyer. The issue I see is Lawrence isn’t getting better. The Jaguars are passing the ball this year only 60.4% of the time. In 2022 they were at 59.4% so the same offense but Lawrence is doing worse. In 2022 he scored 276 fantasy points. He finished as QB8 in fantasy last year and there were expectations he would take the next step forward. With all the added weapons they gave him this offseason in Calvin Ridley and Tank Bigsby, you have to see him progress. Do the Jaguars sign him to a massive contract when he isn’t getting better? Does that coaching staff even stay after this season? It’s five weeks in and people are already saying Pres Taylors’ seat is getting hot. It’s a weak division that they should win yet are 3-2 while going 1-1 in the division. They could barely beat a jetlagged Bills team in London this past week. Could this just be year three of the future “Trevor Lawrence had 4 offensive coordinators in 5 years” argument for why he hasn’t quite worked out? 

 

Optimistic Me

Why does TLaw have to get better? Being a top 10 quarterback is still really good. A lot of that production isn’t sticky. Interceptions and touchdowns can be a game of inches. I like that Lawrence is completing almost 65% of his passes this year which is right in line with last year’s 66%. He improved from his 59.6% in his rookie year. Lawrence is consistent. He completed 66% of his passes on average in college. In terms of fantasy Lawrence finishing in the top 10 is still really good. His touchdown percentage is lower so far but his interception percentage is the same at 1.4%. He’s not costing them games. Their point differential is +3. So they are right there in games. They are 3-2 and they are tied for the division lead with the Indianapolis Colts who just lost their rookie starter. There is still plenty of football left in the season. We just saw Lawrence throw for over 300 yards. 

 

Pessimistic Me

Sure top 10 is good but can he continue to finish there? Through five games he is on pace to throw for 4277 yards,17 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. He is on pace for another 448 yards on the ground with no rushing touchdowns. That would put him at 257 fantasy points. That is below last year’s pace. That puts him as QB13 last year a big drop from QB8. Not only that there is a continual crop of young good quarterbacks coming into the league. Even more, those quarterbacks have rushing upside. Lawrence finished 10th in rushing yards by quarterbacks. While that sounds good from a list standpoint he only had 291 yards. That was less than Patrick Mahomes, Geno Smith, and Marcus Mariota. He was helped by rushing for 5 touchdowns but maybe that number is the outlier. He only had 2 in his rookie season and doesn’t have any currently. The Jaguars invested more draft capital in Tank Bigsby perhaps to take that off Lawrence’s plate. The lack of rushing upside could easily send him plummeting down the overall quarterback rankings. 

 

Optimistic Me

Sure the rushing upside isn’t there but doesn’t that mean he isn’t good? You are also forgetting his rushing in college. At Clemson, he had 17 rushing touchdowns in his final two years. And that was on 171 attempts. Lawrence is a big dude. He’s 6’6′ 213 lbs. He doesn’t need the tush push to get into the end zone. He may not be the fastest guy but he uses his size and intelligence to read the defense and get in the end zone. He’s got a ton of upside and how can you not like that in fantasy? He’s been one of the best quarterbacks to come into the league in recent years. He is developing. His interceptable passes were at 50, the most in the league back in 2021. That dropped to 18, the 24th most in 2022. He is on pace currently to 13 this year.. His accuracy rating went up to 7.9 in 2022 from 7.3 in his rookie year. His true completion percentage went from 66.2% to 71.7%. He had 43 dropped passes in his rookie season! Most in the league. That came down to 32 but was still the 6th most. They haven’t helped him despite his catchable pass rate going up from 64% in 2021 to 75% in 2022 and currently at 77%. Those metrics are great. Maybe he just drops down draft boards and is a value like Jared Goff, Kirk Cousins, and Derek Carr have been.

 

Pessimistic Me

Let’s talk about those guys. First off they are all older guys. That’s part of their value is that they don’t have a perceived upside. They are consistent low-floor guys. Those franchises aren’t expecting them to be the long-term plan but are good enough for now. Even the Raiders moved on from Carr this past offseason. For fantasy, those guys are right around Lawrence but again TLaw is expected to be the next great passer. So far he hasn’t gotten there. He has 10 multi-touchdown games in his career. Over that same span, Goff has 17, Cousins has 24 and Carr has 18. You are expecting bigger things from Lawrence. You are expecting Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert-like production. He just isn’t doing that. He isn’t putting up those massive games like the other top young guys.

 

 

Optimistic Me

Okay, let’s compare him to some of his contemporaries. I’ll raise you Herbert and Burrow and add in Justin Fields and Tua Tagovailoa. You mentioned multi-touchdown games. Tua 13, Burrow- 23, Herbert- 22, Fields- 8. The difference is outside of Fields they all have had way better pass catchers than what Lawrence has had. But this is about fantasy. Games in the top 12 last season. Herbert-10, Burrow-11, Fields and Tua- 6, Lawrence- 10. In terms of percentage that puts Lawrence in the top 10 55.8% of the time. Tied with Herbert and right behind Burrow and Fields. But again with lesser weapons than them. You have to imagine the team continues to build around him. Those numbers should continue to climb. If they upgrade the wide receiver room this offseason it’s just more for Lawrence to work with. 

 

Pessimistic Me

How is he going to continue to do that behind the offensive line of the Jags? They aren’t great. PFF.com rates them as the 22nd best in run blocking and 17th in pass blocking. It’s not like they aren’t a new unit. Outside of Anton Harrison who is a rookie, they have all been on the team together since last year. A few of them are coming up on contracts either this off-season or next which means they will have new guys in and that always leads towards more pressure and sacks. Lawrence is currently only getting 2.0 seconds of pocket time. That’s 19th best. Not great for a non-running quarterback. He has been sacked or knocked down a total of 20 times. The offensive line just isn’t good enough to protect Lawrence and allow him time. It will hamper his development. He is a prototypical pocket passer and as defenses get faster and scheme better it just looms over Lawrence. Are you or the Jaguars excited about their former 1st overall pick being Kirk Cousins? No, they are not. 

 

Optimistic Me

You are making my point for me. It’s not him. It’s partly the offensive line. That’s an easy fix. They can replace the guys via free agency and the draft and Lawrence will be fine. Let’s not just glance over the fact that his receivers have 10 drops which is tied for the third most right now. That’s not helping him. He is getting the ball to them they just aren’t catching it. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that the Jags sign a big name in free agency at wide receiver and draft a top O lineman to help out. That would provide the two things that are currently missing for Lawrence to continue to be a top-10 NFL and fantasy quarterback. We know the owner Shahid Khan isn’t afraid to spend. Look at what he did with Christian Kirk. A contract at the time people thought was crazy but it’s worked out. 

 

Pessimistic Me

Let’s talk contracts. They have some big names to possibly re-sign this offseason including star pass rusher Josh Allen, Dawuane Smoot, and recent addition Clavin Ridley. They have a few other role players like K’lavon Chaisson and Tre Herndon looking for new deals. Yes, the owner has money and doesn’t mind spending but there is a limit. The Jaguars are projected to only have $20 million in cap space next year so they might have to make some roster cuts to free up cash. Then they have to decide what they want to do with Lawrence. Do they pick up his 5th-year option? While right now Lawrence is really cheap finishing up his rookie deal he might be looking to secure the bag on his second deal. The Jaguars have to decide to roll with him or start over. We will see a boom in quarterbacks over the next few years both in free agency and the draft. While the 2024 free agency group isn’t great the draft class is looking stacked. It’s too early to really tell what the 2025 draft class will be but the current group of free agents includes Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Jared Goff, Jordan Love, Justin Fields, Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones, and possibly Trey Lance.

 

Optimistic Me

So Lawrence is under contract for 2024. He’s not going to hold out. So they are set. Even if they had a good draft pick they could get a guy in the second and let him sit for a year much like the Green Bay Packers did with Jordan Love. I doubt that happens. So if we project out to 2025. They have to decide if they want to either pick up his 5th-year option or try to sign one of the free agents. We already know he is just as good as Tua with lesser weapons. We know he doesn’t have the rushing upside of Fields but is a better passer. The Jags have invested in rushers so bringing in a rushing QB doesn’t make sense. Trey Lance should never be brought up as a potential replacement. Dak is getting older and so is Goff. Mac Jones gets benched every few weeks so who is going to replace Lawrence and give the Jags a legit shot at winning the division and beyond? They are never going to be bad enough to have a top 5 draft pick where they can get a quarterback who is a stud so they could gamble on a lower-tier guy and hope he works out but that doesn’t seem to be their way. They don’t have to reset the market with Lawrence’s contract. Jalen Hurts took less money to stay with the team. Plenty of guys are taking less to help allow the team to build around them. Lawrence strikes me as that sort of guy. He should be locked in for the next 10 years in Duval County. Why would fantasy managers move on from him?

 

Pessimistic Me

They should move on because they can reset their fantasy team by doing so. Let’s agree that Lawrence is never going to be a top 5 guy in the NFL or for fantasy but should be in that 8-15 range. Good but not great. Right now he still has the shine to him. So his value is still there. According to the Dynasty Pros Trade calculator, you can trade Lawrence for CJ Stroud and a 1st round pick next year. Or you could get Jaxon Smith-Njigba a 1st and a 2nd. You could get one of the best wide receiver prospects and have a shot at Caleb Williams or one of the other rookie quarterbacks in a stacked glass. It’s not out of the realm that you get Marvin Harrison with that first and then someone like Michael Penix Jr or Bo Nix in the 2nd. Quarterbacks with a rushing upside. The sky is the limit in terms of trade possibilities but I don’t think the sky is the limit when it comes to Lawrence’s upside. It might be best to cash in now while his name still carries weight. Trading a guy at the value of a top 5 quarterback when in reality he is a top 15 guy is smart. 

 

Optimistic Me

Are you really trading a known top 12 producer, who is still only 24 years old on an up-and-coming team for a rookie, who has looked amazing and a pick that may or may not work out? Unless you can get either an early 1st this year to secure Caleb Williams and then another 1st and probably more you shouldn’t move on from Lawrence. Finding a consistent top-12 fantasy quarterback is hard. You can’t give up on a player this early. You drafted him in dynasty to be a cornerstone of your team and he can still be that. Do you want to gamble on Stroud or Caleb Willaims being better than him? We see plenty of flukes every year. Look at Daniel Jones. He was a subpar player and then last year jumped up into the top 10. He isn’t repeating that this year. Even up until the past two weeks against historically weak defenses it didnt look like Justin Fields was any good. Let’s not discredit that Lawrence and the Jags have faced the Bills and Texans who are top 5 in coverage defense and also the Chiefs, Falcons, and Colts. All good defenses. It’s not been the easiest start to the season for Lawrence but he is still putting up points. He will be a top-12 quarterback again. 

 

Pessimistic Me

Is he really going to be a top-12 quarterback again? Currently ranked around Qb17. On average only 6 guys from the top 12 repeat the following year. It’s almost a lock that Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Jalen Hurts will repeat. A healthy Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow repeat. So if only six on average repeat that leaves 1 spot. Even if I give you 7 repeats that leaves two spots. Is Lawrence more likely to repeat than Kirk Cousins, Jared Goff, Geno Smith, or Justin Fields? All who currently have more fantasy points than Lawrence. His schedule isn’t getting any easier. Still has to play the Texans and Colts again not to mention the 49ers, Saints, and Baltimore. He has some cupcakes in there as well so might be smart to move him after a spike week.

 

 

 

 

So what should fantasy managers do with Trevor Lawrence? For me personally, I’m selling. I think he still brings in top-five quarterback prices yet is way below that and probably never gets there. I think he has the name and hype recognition. You should be able to get more of the Stroud and a 1st for him. I think if you can target guys like Brock Purdy and then add on multiple picks you win. You have to have another quarterback on the roster and two or three in superflex leagues to not get one back but he is the perfect asset to help you change the direction of your dynasty franchise. I’m not selling low on him at all but I’m worried about what Lawrence’s future holds. I think he is a good player, not the superstar that he was anointed to be when drafted.