How Trevor Lawrence's contract extension affects the Chicago Bears and the NFC North

The quarterback position is the most important position in sports. 

It all starts and ends with the starting QB, and the money reflects that. Look no further than the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Jaguars made Lawrence one of the two highest-paid players in football last Thursday. Jacksonville inked him to a five-year contract extension worth $275 million.

This extension comes at a pivotal time for the NFC North. The division is in the middle of figuring out its own quarterback financial figures at the moment.

So far, there's only one given: Detroit ponied up a four-year, $212M extension for Jared Goff after earning the Lions a berth in the NFC title game this past season. 

There are three things that still need to be decided within the division:

  • Bears' quarterback Caleb Williams' rookie contract
  • Vikings quarterback J.J. McCarthy's rookie contract
  • Packers' quarterback Jordan Love's extension

While it might not necessarily come in that order, two need to be figured out sooner rather than later in Williams and McCarthy. Love's extension doesn't need to happen this summer, but the numbers grow as the Packers wait.

Here's how Lawrence's extension affects the entire NFC North:

How Lawrence's extension affects Green Bay

The longer the Packers take to get an extension done with Jordan Love, the more costly it can be.

Especially because Love has all the leverage in this conversation.

When Goff got his extension, he just earned a berth in the NFC title game. Love was a play or two away from being the team opposite the Lions on championship weekend.

Love was the reason why the Packers buried the second-seeded Cowboys 48-32 in the NFC Wild Card round. He has accomplished just about the same that Lawrence has in the NFL.

If Love can take Green Bay to the NFC Championship Game, he has every right to ask for the same money Goff got. If he's an All-Pro, why not ask for the same money Lawrence got?

 Love bided his time behind Aaron Rodgers and proved he was worth the wait. His ceiling might not be as high as Lawrence's, but he's shown he's plenty talented with room to improve.

If Green Bay can't get an extension done soon, it risks Love's price tag exceeding what Goff already got. 

How Lawrence's extension affects Minnesota and Detroit

When it comes to Detroit and Minnesota, Love's extension doesn't affect either team much.

Goff's deal is done. His deal set the market for experienced quarterbacks that can play well within a system.

McCarthy, who was picked with the No. 1 overall pick, should receive a contract similar to last year's No. 10 overall pick.

Last year's No. 10 overall pick was Bears' offensive tackle Darnell Wright, who signed a four-year, $20.9 million deal with Chicago as his rookie contract. 

How Lawrence's extension affects the Bears

There's common ground here with the Bears and Jaguars.

Lawrence was a No. 1 overall pick, just like Caleb Williams was this year. What we can glean from this is it might not take much success on Williams' end to earn a massive extension.

The bottomline is Lawrence has not advanced out of the AFC Divisional Round, and his only playoff win came at the expense of Brandon Staley's Chargers who wasted a 27–0 lead on Lawrence.

That was impressive, but it begs the question: is that worth $275 million?

Perhaps not – if anything it's an investment in Lawrence's future – but also consider this. Lawrence passed for 4,113 yards in the 2022 season. That would be the Bears' single-season passing record if Williams could equal that this year.

Should WIlliams take the Bears to the playoffs in his first three seasons in the league, win a playoff game and have the stats to show for it, he'll have every right to command similar money that Lawrence got in his extension.

Would Williams be worth it at the moment given just those two factors? Maybe, maybe not, but that figure might be a bargain if Williams can energize the Bears into a contender.


Chicago Bears training camp beings in mid-July, with rookies reporting on July 16

The team has nine days off, and training camp is scheduled to conclude on August 29.