3 Massive Questions Facing Jacksonville Jaguars For 2024 NFL Season

Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the NFL’s most disappointing teams in 2023, going 9-8 and missing the playoffs in spite of getting off to an 8-3 start.

It was basically the inverse of the Jaguars’ 2022 campaign, where they caught fire in the second half and won the AFC South division title.

Many felt Jacksonville would be a legitimate contender going into last season, but obviously, things did not turn out that well.

It has been an interesting offseason for the Jags, one that certainly has not been without activity.

Of course, the most significant move the Jaguars made was handing quarterback Trevor Lawrence a five-year, $275 million contract extension, tying him with Cincinnati Bengals star Joe Burrow as the highest-paid player in NFL history.

But will Jacksonville be able to right the ship in 2024?

Here are three major questions facing the Jags.

Who will be the No. 1 receiver?

In spite of losing Calvin Ridley to the division-rival Tennessee Titans in free agency, the Jaguars have actually managed to assemble a pretty solid receiving corps.

Christian Kirk is a holdover from last year, they signed Gabe Davis and they selected Brian Thomas Jr. in the first round of the NFL Draft.

You have to think that Jacksonville views Thomas as the No. 1 long term, and I guess it’s possible that the LSU standout could end up assuming ace duties at some point in 2024.

But the chances of the rookie establishing himself as Lawrence’s top option right off the bat seem slim.

More than likely, Kirk will cement his role as the No. 1 guy in training camp and preseason by default. After all, Lawrence has already established a rapport with him, and he did haul in 84 receptions for 1,108 yards and eight touchdowns in 2022 (injuries limited him to 12 games last season).

That being said, Kirk has only posted one 1,000-yard campaign throughout his six-year NFL tenure and really isn’t a true No. 1. He is more of a high-end No. 2.

Davis definitely isn’t a top pass-catcher, either.

Perhaps the Jaguars will get by based on their depth at the position, but it would be nice if they had a real bona fide wide out at the top of the chart.

Is the Jaguars’ secondary up to par?

Jacksonville ranked 26th in passing defense in 2023, demonstrating how poor its secondary was.

The Jags didn’t exactly conduct a massive overhaul of their defensive backfield this offseason, although they did sign safety Darnell Savage and cornerback Ronald Darby. They also picked up a couple off corners in the NFL Draft, selecting Jarrian Jones in the third round and Deantre Prince in Round 5.

Savage is not quite the same player anymore, and Darby has had tremendous difficulty staying healthy throughout his career. Ergo, the passing defense could still be an issue for the Jaguars come September.

Having a couple of terrific pass rushers in Josh Allen and Travon Walker certainly helps, and free-agent signing Arik Armstead should help solidify the front seven. That should make the job easier for Jacksonville’s defensive backs, but they are still going to have to cover.

There truly isn’t a single lock for dependability in the Jags’ secondary. Even Andre Cisco, who is probably the Jaguars’ best defensive back, has some durability concerns.

If Jacksonville’s secondary doesn’t show any signs of marked improvement in 2024, it could be another long year for the Jags’ defense.

Will Trevor Lawrence show that he is worth his contract?

Regardless of how you spin it, the Jaguars had to extend Lawrence. They took him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2021, so they basically handed him the keys to their future three years ago.

Lawrence has also displayed too much potential for Jacksonville to risk rolling into 2024 with the Clemson product on a one-year deal.

But here’s the rub: Lawrence has really only had one very good season out of three.

There is no doubt that the 24-year-old was terrific in his sophomore campaign, throwing for 4,113 yards, 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions while leading the Jags to a Wild Card Round playoff win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

But otherwise? Lawrence has been decidedly ordinary, if not subpar.

He led the league with 17 interceptions during his rookie season, tossing only 12 touchdowns. Then, this past year, Lawrence totaled 4,016 yards, 21 touchdowns and 14 picks.

Spare me the “he was injured” excuse. Yes, I understand that Lawrence battled through various injuries, but that all came during the back half of 2023. He wasn’t playing particularly well even before then.

Lawrence is supposed to be a generational talent, and he hasn’t displayed that on a consistent basis thus far.

Hopefully for Jaguars fans, 2024 is the year Lawrence takes things to another level.

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