JACKSONVILLE – Josh Allen will be with the Jaguars next season.
Trent Baalke made that clear Thursday, with the Jaguars' general manager saying definitively during his season-ending media availability that Allen – the team's veteran outside linebacker – will play for the team in 2024.
"Josh will be a Jaguar," Baalke said.
Baalke – the Jaguars' general manager since 2021 – discussed multiple issues during a half-hour availability Thursday morning. He spent several minutes discussing the contract situations – and futures – of multiple veterans including wide receiver Calvin Ridley and Allen, the No. 7 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft who set the franchise single-season sacks record in 2023.
Allen is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 14, the start of the NFL's 2024 League Year. The Jaguars sign Allen to a long-term contract extension or apply the NFL's franchise tag to him, the latter of which would mean Allen playing on a one-year contract if he chooses to sign the tag.
"I'm not going to commit to anything right now relative to the franchise tag," Baalke said. "At the same token, Josh Allen's going to be a Jaguars next year."
Baalke said the team currently is "very far" from a deal with Allen, who made the Pro Bowl in 2023 and whose 17.5 sacks ranked second in the NFL this season.
"Those negotiations will start," Baalke said. "I know Josh wants to be here. I know we want him here. Can we come to a number that works for everybody? That's the key and I respect that. You have to respect these guys that put themselves in this position. They work hard. They deserve to make good money. What that 'good' means to them could be different than what it means to us.
"We just have to come together, sit down at the table and work things out."
Baalke also addressed the future of Ridley, who – like Allen – is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March. The Jaguars also have the option of placing the franchise tag on Ridley, but teams can use a tag only on only one player each offseason.
"We would love to have Calvin back," Baalke said. "We're going to work toward that. What that means, I don't know right now."
Ridley, acquired by the Jaguars in a November 2022 trade with the Atlanta Falcons, returned to football in 2023 after being out of the game for nearly two seasons and serving a one-year NFL suspension in 2022. He caught 76 passes for 1,106 yards and eight touchdowns while playing 2023 on the final season of the rookie contract he signed after being selected in Round 1 by Atlanta in 2017.
"Calvin did some awfully good things," Baalke said. "I love Calvin Ridley. He's all ball. He loves to practice. He loves to play. He loves the game. When you bring somebody in that hasn't been a part of football for over a year and a half, you have to knock the rust off. He did that. At times he showed exactly who he was, who he can be.
"The sky's the limit. He's only going to get better because of the way he works. When you love something as much as he loves football, he can't help but get better."
- Baalke on Thursday also discussed quarterback Trevor Lawrence's contract situation. Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, became eligible for a contract extension when the Jaguars' 2023 season ended because teams must wait until after a drafted player's third season to negotiate such an extension. Baalke said the Jaguars would not rule out an extension for Lawrence this offseason. "As far as Trevor and the long-term relationship with this team, there's no doubting that," Baalke said. "We're going to get something done at the appropriate time." Jaguars players selected in the 2021 draft such as running back Travis Etienne Jr. (first round), cornerback Tyson Campbell (second round), offensive tackle Walker Little (second round) and safety Andre Cisco (third round) also can sign extensions this offseason. "We're going to sit down with ownership in the next several days, sit down with the head coach, sit down with the personnel staff and really review the roster," Baalke said. "We've already done it. It's not like we're starting from scratch, but really will just have a heart to heart on where we're at with all the guys that are potentially coming up. There are some good players on this roster that we'd like to see moving forward."