Blake Bortles is not planning to continue his efforts at returning to a team’s active roster. The former No. 3 overall pick announced his retirement during an appearance on Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take podcast.
The longtime Jaguars starter has not played in a regular-season game since the 2019 season, when he appeared in three as Jared Goff‘s backup with the Rams. But he has bounced around the league in the years since, last being with a team in April. The Saints released Bortles at that point, and the former AFC championship game starter said during the podcast he has not touched a football since January.
Since his 2019 Rams signing, Bortles caught on with the Broncos and Packers and also circled back to the Rams. He finished his career as a Saints emergency roster option, amid the team’s COVID-19 surge during the Omicron variant’s height. Mostly from his rookie contract and the three-year, $54MM extension he signed with the Jaguars in 2018, Bortles walks away from the game having made more than $47MM. The Jags bailing on that deal after one season, however, abruptly ended the oft-scrutinized passer’s run as a starter.
The Central Florida product started 73 career games, and while he ended up being benched months after signing that extension, the former Doug Marrone pupil had Jacksonville on the cusp of a Super Bowl LII berth. Bortles threw for 293 yards in a narrow AFC championship game loss in New England, doing so after the Jaguars won a divisional-round shootout in Pittsburgh.
Despite having chosen Blaine Gabbert in the top 10 three years prior, the Jags went back to the Round 1 QB well with Bortles, who came off the 2014 board far earlier than his QB contemporaries — in a class that included Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr. Numerous The Good Place references aside, Bortles frequently drew criticism during his rocky Jags tenure. Working with Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, Bortles finished the 2015 season with 35 touchdown passes. But the Jags went 5-11 that year; Bortles then struggled in 2016. He threw 51 interceptions from 2014-16, but the team nevertheless stuck with its starter — as Marrone replaced Gus Bradley as HC– leading to a 2017 outlier season that nearly produced one of the most unlikely Super Bowl entrants in the game’s history.
Jacksonville assembled a strong defense in 2017 — one that led the league in DVOA and lived up to its “Sacksonville” nickname — helping the team to a 10-6 record and the AFC title game. The Jags could not sustain that formula in 2018 and began a decline that led to their talented defense splintering and, eventually, the Urban Meyer year. The Jags released Bortles in March 2019, taking on $16.5MM in dead money as they pivoted to one-and-done option Nick Foles. Bortles concludes his career with 103 touchdown passes and 75 interceptions; his 17,646 passing yards are second-most (behind Mark Brunell) in Jags history.