After visiting with him today, the Rams have signed embattled signal-caller Blake Bortles to a one-year deal, per a team announcement. ESPN’s Jeff Darlington was the first to report that a contract was being finalized (Twitter link).
Bortles will earn just $1MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), but that doesn’t make much of a difference for the QB since his previous Jaguars contract contained offset language. The $1MM sum will eat into the $6.5MM he’s owed by the Jaguars, which results in the same income for Bortles and a bit of relief for Jacksonville.
Bortles will certainly test the theory that Rams head coach Sean McVay can make any quarterback successful, and he will serve as the backup to starter Jared Goff. This signing also likely means that Goff’s 2018 backup, Sean Mannion, will be moving on. Mannion is an unrestricted free agent.
The third overall selection in the 2014 draft, Bortles hasn’t come close to living up to his draft status. Since Bortles entered the NFL with the Jaguars, 17 quarterbacks have attempted at least 2,000 passes: among those signal-callers, Bortles ranks dead last in adjusted net yards per attempt, quarterback rating, and interception rate, and is second-to-last in touchdown rate.
Bortles has never worked with McVay, but the two do have a tangential connection. Greg Olson was Bortles’ Jacksonville offensive coordinator from 2015-16 before taking over as the Rams’ quarterbacks coach under McVay in 2017. Olson left for Oakland after one year in Los Angeles, but it’s fair to assume he’s given McVay a Bortles scouting report that McVay apparently likes well enough. Plus, Bortles’ first OC, Jedd Fisch, is an offensive assistant on the Rams’ staff.
The Jaguars will certainly be interested to see how much money the Rams will be paying Bortles. Bortles still had guaranteed salary remaining on his Jacksonville deal, but thanks to offset language, the Jags will receive a cap credit equal to the amount of Bortles’ base salary (up to $6.5MM).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.