The New York Jets blew their chance at Trevor Lawrence with an ill-advised victory on Sunday. Lawrence will now be headed to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2021 NFL Draft barring something very strange like the Jags trading the pick or winning another game in 2020. Many people think this should be a relief for Lawrence, who was rumored to be considering returning to Clemson if he was in danger of becoming a Jet.
But should he really be happy right now? Is he really any better off in Jacksonville than he would be in New York/Jersey? Neither of these situations are ideal. That's why the number one pick in the draft is doomed to end up on one of these teams.
Yes, Lawrence gets to spend the beginning of his career in warm, sunny Florida, but it's Jacksonville. This isn't Miami. This is Jacksonville. It's the home of Limp Bizkit and Jason Mendoza. It's the Florida of Florida. Besides, playing for the franchise located in Jacksonville doesn't even mean he's going to spend most of all time in the Jacksonville area.
Half the Jags games are on the road, just like every other franchise, but the real difference is that once this pandemic is over, the Jags are going back to playing as many games as possible in London. The Jaguars were set to play two "home" games in London this season. Twenty twenty-one might be tough with travel restrictions, but there's no reason to think they wouldn't go back to traveling to London once things go back to normal.
Then there are the franchise histories. The Jets have one more AFC Championship Game appearance in the last 25 years than the Jags. Both teams have seven playoff appearances over the same span. The Jaguars have the most recent playoff berth ('17 vs. '10). Both teams have won 12 total games over the last three seasons combined. It's hard to argue either franchise is truly in a better spot. Sure, the Jaguars might have better position players, but why have any faith or expectation that any of them are on the team by the end of next season?
The same goes for the coaching situations. Presumably, a number of coaches will line up to coach Lawrence wherever he plays so it doesn't matter if Doug Marrone is a better coach than Adam Gase because the Jags are going to start looking around. If not this winter, then after Marrone wins four games with a rookie quarterback on an otherwise lousy team next season.
As a wise man once solemnly said, when it comes to NFL football teams, "There's actually zero difference between good and bad things. You imbecile." And when it comes to these two teams, both would be starting from zero (or 1-15 at least) with Lawrence. Maybe Lawrence prefers Jacksonville and the warmer weather, but once the games start, his happiness will depend on how those games turn out. Wherever he ends up, if things don't work out, we'll wonder if he would have been better off somewhere else.