Rather than enter the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes or make a run at other starter-level players like Case Keenum, Tyrod Taylor or Sam Bradford, the Jaguars preemptively reached an extension agreement with Blake Bortles. He’s signed through 2020.
With Bortles having not shown much to indicate he’s capable of top-level quarterback play, the Jaguars look to be building around their defense. Bortles was on board with that strategy when it came time to negotiate his second Jags deal.
“I think definitely the way the Tom (Brady) has done it is the way to try to model,” Bortles said, via Sirius XM Radio (Twitter link), of willingly taking a lower salary. “Having guys and putting pieces around him was definitely something. When you take up a ton of money you kind of limit your team and who they can help you out with and put around you.
“I’m not naive enough to say that we don’t need a run game. We also need a good defense; we need good receivers; we need all these pieces. You can’t play as a quarterback and do it yourself so I’m more than willing to take less money than somebody else might in my position to put good guys around us.”
Bortles signed for three years and $54MM, with a $15MM signing bonus. His 2018 salary is fully guaranteed, and $6.5MM of his ’19 base salary is as well. With it costing the Jags $16.5MM in dead money to cut Bortles after this season, this deal ties the 2014 first-rounder to the team effectively through the next two seasons.
However, given the inconsistency he’s displayed in four seasons, it was unlikely Bortles was going to make much more than he did on this contract. He did want to remain in Jacksonville, something he hopes to do throughout his career.
“I was like, ‘I don’t really care how much money it is. Let’s just get a deal done so I can go play football and have some security in a place that I got drafted,'” Bortles said during the interview. “It was huge for me to sign a second deal by the team that drafted me. To be able to play in one place your whole career is something I’ve always wanted to do. To be able to have that security for at least a little bit … I’ve still go to go earn it and play well in order to stay there.”
Bringing in Cody Kessler and sixth-round pick Tanner Lee, the Jags did not make a big outside investment at quarterback this offseason. So, Bortles doesn’t have much in-house competition this season — one that features the Jaguars in as strong of a competitive position going into it as they have been in many years.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.