Jacksonville Decides To Keep Bortles; Giving Him $54 Million Over The Next Three Years: The Takeaway
Jacksonville, FLA — Most people assumed the Jacksonville Jaguars were going to be big players in the quarterback market this offseason. They have one the top defenses in the league and led the NFL in rushing yards per game last season. All they needed was a top-tier quarterback to take them over the edge, right?
Top-tier quarterbacks cost a lot of money and often don’t result in Super Bowls after they sign a big deal.
The first thing that comes to mind on Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles’ $54 million deal is that the deal is fair. It averages out to $18 million per year which makes Bortles the 17th highest paid quarterback in the NFL.
The deal is fair to Bortles because he was scheduled to make over $19 million next season but could have been cut before the new league year; no one would have given him that type of money. This deal also makes sense for Jacksonville because it doesn’t put them in a financial bind, allowing them to fill out their roster respectively.
The Right Choice
Out of all the quarterbacks who could have been available to the Jaguars this offseason, Bortles is without question the right choice. Coming off his best season as a professional, Bortles completed 60.2 percent of his passes for 3,687 yards and 21 touchdowns with 13 interceptions.
Jags’ head coach Doug Marrone and EVP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin wanted to keep Bortles around. They want him to grow with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and his quarterback-friendly west coast scheme.
This Is A “Prove It” Deal
The deal is for $54 million and could be worth up to $66.5 million with incentives, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The deal also includes $26.5 million in guaranteed money, according to the source.
The length of Bortles’ new deal also shows where Jacksonville’ thought process is. Bortles is not an elite quarterback, and he won’t get paid like one. He essentially has two years to prove that he’s the right quarterback for this franchise.
However, if Bortles takes a step back or proves he isn’t worth $18 million per year, Jacksonville can part ways with him after the 2019 season due to the guaranteed money structure.
Stability and Freedom
This move provides much-needed stability at the quarterback position for Jacksonville. Since 2010, Jacksonville’s quarterback play has been sub-par and inadequate at times, including Bortles’ first three years.
However, in Bortles’ best year as a pro, he didn’t have a full complement of receivers; one of the reasons the Jags decided to keep him. Receiver Allen Robinson missed the entire season with a torn ACL and receivers Allen Hurns, and Marquis Lee missed a combined eight games. Leaving Bortles to work with rookies Dede Westbrook, Jaydon Mickens, and Keelan Cole who led Jacksonville in receiving (748 yards).
Also, Bortles’ new deal provides freedom to upgrade positions such as tight end and receiver; and sign other players in the coming years.
“Everybody dreams of making $100 million, or the quarterbacks are kind of expected to sign that big deal, and that was never something that was very important to me,” Bortles said. “I think signing the second deal with the team that drafted you was my goal from the beginning. It’s been done, and I’m excited and I think thrilled and proud of myself for being able to do that. There’s obviously still a lot of work that needs to go on.”