I know I am in the minority here when I say this. Nonetheless, picking up the fifth-year option of the Blake Bortles rookie deal is a good thing for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The team announced the move Monday morning, a day after the completion of the NFL Draft. The Jaguars did not draft a signal caller with any of their seven selections. Bortles is firmly entrenched as the leader of this team at least until after the 2018 season.
“This is a smart business decision for the team for several reasons,” said Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin via Jaguars.com. “It makes sense for us going forward and it’s good for Blake and for the Jaguars.”
Now that Jacksonville has eliminated the elephant in the room, Bortles can concentrate on football. Also, he can help the team reach respectability. The 3-13 team just drafted Leonard Fournette out of LSU to help the running game. Additionally, they selected tackle Cam Robinson out of Alabama to shore up the offensive line.
Not all is bad about Bortles in three seasons with the team. The first-round draft pick out of UCF in 2014 did have over 4,400 yards passing and 35 touchdowns in 2015 – both franchise records. That season was sandwiched between a rookie campaign that was dismal. Along with a third season where he only tossed 23 touchdowns. For his career, Bortles is 11-34 as a starter, has a 69-51 TD-INT ratio, and an average QB rating of 79.6.
Hopefully a new coaching staff, led by Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett – two holdovers from last season – will give Blake Bortles continuity moving forward.
There had been talk leading up to the Draft last weekend the team would take a long hard look at Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson. However, they bypassed him with the fourth overall selection. Fournette should take some of the pressure off Bortles in the passing game. As of now, the team has the rookie, TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory in the backfield.
According to NFL Insider Albert Breer, Bortles’ 2018 option number is $19.053 million. The option guarantees Bortles for injury only right now. However, it becomes fully guaranteed in March 2018.
The Jacksonville Jaguars also have Chad Henne as Bortles’ primary backup and second-year player Brandon Allen on the roster.