Blake Bortles

Falcons Worked Out QB Blake Bortles

Before the Falcons signed Josh Rosen yesterday, the team took a look at another disappointing former first-round pick. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), Atlanta worked out Blake Bortles recently.

The former third-overall pick has only seen the field for three games since the 2019 season. He spent the 2020 season bouncing on and off the Broncos active roster and practice squad, and he ended the campaign on the Rams practice squad. He signed a deal with the Packers earlier this offseason, but he was cut by the organization last month.

Bortles, of course, disappointed during his five seasons with the Jaguars, where he completed only 59.4-percent of his passes for 92 touchdowns and 58 interceptions. More notably, he had a 24-49 record as a starter, although he did have a three-game postseason run with Jacksonville in 2017.

The Falcons were hunting for a quarterback following the season-ending injury to backup A.J. McCarron. Rosen will likely step up as Matt Ryan‘s primary backup, and the team is also rostering rookie UDFA Feleipe Franks. If Rosen and/or Franks prove that they’re not worth their roster spot, perhaps the organization would give Bortles a second look.

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Packers Cut Blake Bortles

The Packers have released quarterback Blake Bortles (Twitter link via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com). In addition, they’ve also waived fellow QB Jake Dolegala, according to Joe Buscaglia of TheAthletic (Twitter link).

Aaron Rodgers reported to the Packers on Tuesday, but these backups didn’t have long to catch up with him. With the MVP back in action, both players faced long odds of making the final cut. Now, the Packers will move forward with Rodgers, Jordan Love, and Kurt Benkert as their top QBs, though Benkert may find himself battle with a fourth signal caller at some point.

The Packers signed Bortles to a one-year deal with zero guarantees back in May. The former No. 3 overall pick spent last season with the Broncos and Rams but saw zero action. And, in 2019, he threw two passes while serving as Jared Goff‘s backup in Los Angeles. Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett worked as Bortles’ OC for nearly four years in Jacksonville, but the familiarity wasn’t enough for him to keep his job.

Dolegala, meanwhile, was added in June to fill reps during Rodgers’ absence. The 24-year-old will go up for grabs on the waiver wire and hope to see his first live action.

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Packers To Sign Blake Bortles

4:36pm: No visit will be necessary. The Packers have reached an agreement with the seven-year veteran quarterback, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. It’s a one-year deal (Twitter links).

Bortles and Hackett will reunite with the Packers amid some QB turbulence. Rodgers is seeking a Green Bay exit, and Bortles does bring substantial experience as a starter. He has started 73 of the 78 games he has played. In addition to working with Hackett previously, Bortles has experience in the offense Matt LaFleur uses, having spent 2019 and some of 2020 with Sean McVay in L.A.

4:21pm: Jordan Love is the only Packers quarterback expected to take part in voluntary on-field workouts, which the team will begin next week. As it stands, the 2020 first-round pick is set to be the only Green Bay QB at minicamp as well.

This has led the team to show interest in free agent passers. Blake Bortles is now on the team’s radar, with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein noting (via Twitter) the Packers are pursuing the former Jaguars starter. A visit is likely. The Packers are set to meet with Chad Kelly and former Falcons backup Kurt Benkert, but Bortles obviously has far more experience.

Bortles spent last season with the Broncos and Rams. Despite Denver’s historic issues at quarterback, the five-year Jacksonville starter did not see action in 2020. He threw two passes in 2019, working as Jared Goff‘s backup in Los Angeles.

The former No. 3 overall pick would be a natural fit in Green Bay. Current Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett worked as Bortles’ Jags OC for nearly four years. After taking over the starting job early in his rookie season, Bortles held it until the 2018 season. The Jags were on the doorstep of Super Bowl LII with Bortles, though their talented defense played a notable role in the team reaching that point, but the quarterback’s subsequent extension quickly backfired. Jacksonville ate considerable dead money to cut Bortles in 2019.

Even if Bortles signs, the Packers are likely to add a UDFA, Silverstein adds (on Twitter). The rookie passer would profile as a camp arm behind Love and whichever veteran the team signs. With Aaron Rodgers still at odds with his team of 16 years, the Packers are in an unusual place at quarterback. They opted not to bring back multiyear backup Tim Boyle, bumping Love up to their QB2 role. Should Rodgers stick to his guns, Love may be summoned to action sooner than the team expected. Bortles or another veteran would be needed in this case.

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This Date In Transactions History: Jaguars Extend Blake Bortles

Three years ago today, the Jaguars took themselves out of the quarterback market by sticking with Blake Bortles. The move was widely panned and, ultimately, it did not work out for Jacksonville. 

The Jaguars were fresh off of an AFC Championship Game appearance and their first playoff appearance in nine years. Bortles, meanwhile, tossed a career-low 13 interceptions. Still, his overall body of work did not inspire a ton of confidence – his 60.2% completion percentage actually marked a new career best.

Despite the question marks, Bortles became the first 2014 first-round pick to receive an extension – stars like Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald, and Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack were still negotiating for their new deals (Of course, they all eventually secured the bag.)

Reported to be a three-year, $54MM pact, the deal included $26.5MM guaranteed with the potential to reach $66.5MM in total through bonuses. He did not earn those incentives, nor did he get to play out his deal – Bortles was cut loose in 2019, clearing the way for Nick Foles to take over.

Bortles went 3-9 in 12 starts for the Jaguars as head coach Doug Marrone flip-flopped him with Cody Kessler. During his five-year run with the Jaguars, Bortles led the league with 75 interceptions – more than one INT per start.

With his stock at an all-time low, the former No. 3 overall pick hooked on with the Rams in the 2019 offseason. Playing behind Jared Goff, Bortles appeared in only three games and attempted two passes. Without a real opportunity to play in 2019, Bortles did not get a chance to silence his critics. Last year, he found his way to Denver, where he was penalized for breaking the league’s COVID safety protocols. Now, on the verge of his 29th birthday in April, Bortles is a free agent once again. And, much like last year, the former No. 3 overall pick is on the NFL fringes.

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Rams To Start Jared Goff Vs. Packers

Jared Goff will return to the Rams’ starting lineup in Green Bay. The Rams’ fifth-year starting quarterback has participated fully in practice throughout the week, and Sean McVay confirmed it will be Goff taking the snaps Saturday.

Los Angeles’ starter the past two weeks, John Wolford has not practiced this week after suffering a neck injury against the Seahawks. The Rams have ruled Wolford out for the team’s divisional-round game against the Packers. Blake Bortles will dress as Los Angeles’ backup quarterback, McVay said.

Despite Goff undergoing thumb surgery earlier this month, the Rams dressed only he and Wolford against the Seahawks. Johnny Hekker became the team’s backup after Wolford’s hospitalization. The Rams have a fourth quarterback option, rookie UDFA Bryce Perkins, who resides on their practice squad.

Goff delivered an uneven but effective performance against the Seahawks (9 of 19, 155 yards, one touchdown pass), against whom he suffered the thumb injury in Week 16. After previously never missing a start due to injury through four-plus seasons, he will attempt to pilot the Rams to an upset win over the Packers.

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Rams Planning To Sign QB Blake Bortles

With Jared Goff being sidelined by a thumb injury, the Rams will be turning to a familiar face. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that Los Angeles is planning to sign Blake Bortles off the Broncos practice squad.

However, this impending signing shouldn’t add any confusion to this weekend’s depth chart. The team announced that Goff is officially out in a crucial contest against the Cardinals, with John Wolford getting the start under center. Meanwhile, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic explains (on Twitter) that the Rams will likely promote Bryce Perkins from the practice squad, meaning they’ll temporarily be holding four quarterbacks (Goff, Wolford, Bortles, Perkins) on their active roster. One or two of these quarterbacks will likely land on the Rams practice squad once Goff is ready to return.

Following a disappointing five-year stint with the Jaguars, Bortles signed a one-year deal with the Rams during the 2019 offseason. He proceeded to appear in three games last season, completing a single three-yard pass. After going unsigned throughout the 2020 offseason, Bortles joined the Broncos in September following an injury to Drew Lock. He was eventually released by Denver and landed back on their practice squad.

In 78 career games, Bortles has completed 59.3-percent of his passes for 17,649 yards, 103 touchdowns, and 75 interceptions. The two quarterbacks currently ahead of him on the depth chart, Wolford and Perkins, have yet to appear in an NFL game.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 12/1/20

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

All Broncos QBs Ineligible For Week 12

The Broncos and the NFL have run into a significant problem. Jeff Driskel‘s positive COVID-19 test earlier this week will lead to an unprecedented situation.

None of the Broncos’ three other QBs will be eligible to play Sunday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles have been deemed high-risk close contacts of Driskel. The NFL forced the Broncos to pull the three passers out of practice earlier today, Mike Klis of 9News tweets.

With the Broncos having no available QBs, this certainly puts the viability of Sunday’s Denver-New Orleans game in doubt. However, this game is still on schedule for Sunday, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. This seems like a tenuous proposition, but as of now, the Broncos would be forced to deploy a true emergency quarterback. They cannot sign any free agent passer to play Sunday, due to COVID-19 protocols.

Driskel’s Thursday positive test coincided with his three non-infected teammates not wearing masks, Schefter adds (on Twitter). It is not known how long the trio went without masks, but it was evidently long enough for the NFL to sideline an entire team’s QB room. The Patriots saw Cam Newton sidelined because of the virus earlier this season, and COVID-positive Lamar Jackson will miss Tuesday’s Ravens-Steelers game — should it stay on as scheduled. But the Broncos’ predicament drags the NFL into new territory regarding the virus.

The Broncos have a wide receiver on their practice squad, Kendall Hinton, who played quarterback at Wake Forest for three seasons, Klis adds (on Twitter). Quality control coach Rob Calabrese worked in that role at practice Saturday, Klis tweets. Hinton attempted 251 career passes with the Demon Deacons, though most of them came in 2015. He ran for 390 yards and seven TDs that season.

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Broncos Sign Blake Bortles To Practice Squad

Blake Bortles won’t be leaving Denver after all. The Broncos released Bortles on Saturday after Drew Lock got healthy enough to return, but a source told Benjamin Allbright of KOA 850 AM that they’re re-signing Bortles to the practice squad (Twitter link).

Allbright added that Bortles impressed in the quarterback room, and it sounds like the team wants him around as a veteran mentor to the young Lock. For now the team has former Boise State quarterback and 2019 UDFA Brett Rypien as the backup, with Jeff Driskel still on the roster as the third-string. Bortles originally signed with the Broncos back on September 22nd.

The third overall pick of the 2014 draft, Bortles was the starter in Jacksonville for the first five years of his career. After that tumultuous stint he signed in Los Angeles last year, and spent 2019 carrying Jared Goff‘s clipboard. Thanks to the league’s new COVID-19 rules, veterans like Bortles are allowed to sign to practice squads for the first time.

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Broncos Release QB Blake Bortles

With Drew Lock looking like he’ll return to the field this weekend, the Broncos have moved on from one of their other quarterbacks. Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post reports (via Twitter) that the team is releasing Blake Bortles. The team has signed practice squad defensive lineman Sylvester Williams to take his spot.

Following five trick-or-treat seasons with the Jaguars, the 2014 third-overall pick had to settle for a backup gig with the Rams last season. He saw time in three games behind Jared Goff, completing one of his two pass attempts. Bortles sat in free agency for the entire offseason, but he eventually got a contract from the Broncos following Lock’s injury in Week 2.

With the 23-year-old appearing to be recovered from his rotator cuff strain, the Broncos apparently so no use for the 28-year-old Bortles. The team will instead move forward with Brett Rypien or Jeff Driskel as the backup quarterbacks.

Williams, a first-round pick by the Broncos back in 2013, reunited with his old team earlier this month when he inked a practice squad deal. The 31-year-old appeared in five games for the Chargers last season, compiling five tackles.

The Broncos have made a few other moves to their roster. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports (via Twitter) that the team has promoted running back Jeremy Cox and linebacker Josh Watson to their active roster. Cox, a former standout at Old Dominion, will serve as the third running back with Melvin Gordon on the shelf. Watson joined the Broncos as an undrafted free agent out of Colorado State in 2019. He’s appeared in nine career games for Denver, collecting a pair of tackles.

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