Jags won’t decide on Blake Bortles’ 2018 option until closer to deadline

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The future of quarterback Blake Bortles with the Jaguars was topic for executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin at a press conference last week and it’s been a topic for coach Doug Marrone and General Manager Dave Caldwell at their media sessions from Indianapolis this week.

All three have provided similar answers to questions about Bortles, who wasn’t able to maintain the progress he showed during the 2015 season while the Jags went 3-13 last season. Coughlin said Bortles “has a lot of work to do” while noting the need for improvement on offense as a while, which Marrone echoed when he spoke to reporters on Wednesday.

Caldwell had his turn at the podium on Thursday and followed along similar lines. He added that the team has not made a decision about exercising their fifth-year option on Bortles’ contract, which would set him up to make over $18 million, and that the team would not make their call closer to the May 3 deadline to exercise the option.

That allows the Jaguars to see how things play out in free agency and the draft with the latter appearing a likelier bet to turn up a quarterback who could alter the present equation. With the option year guaranteed for injury only, 2017 is shaping up to be a make or break year for Bortles regardless of the option decision.