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Did Jaguars make a mistake by picking up Bortles option?

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The Jaguars waited nearly as long as they could to decide whether to pick up the fifth-year option on quarterback Blake Bortles‘ contract. Some would say they made a mistake.

That argument arises from the fact that Jacksonville has now planted a $19.05 million flag in the ground for 2018, which becomes the baseline for any long-term talks that may occur after the coming season. So if the Jaguars want to sign Bortles in 2018, he should seek a full guarantee at signing in the amount of $19.05 million for the first year and a 20-percent raise for 2019 ($22.86 million), which would be the amount of the franchise tag that year. (The quarterback tag likely would be even higher.) That’s $41.91 million, at a minimum, over two years.

Alternatively, the Jaguars could have rolled the dice, allowing Bortles to enter a contract year with the franchise tag as the worst-case scenario for 2018. With the 2017 quarterback franchise tender at $21.26 million and assuming a $12 million increase in the $167 million salary cap, the 7.1-percent increase in the cap would increase the tender by 7.1 percent, to $22.78 million for 2018.

Thus, the Jaguars are putting $19.05 million at risk in order to potentially save $3.7 million.

And here’s the true nature of the risk. With the 2018 salary guaranteed for injury only until the first day of the 2018 league year in March, the money becomes fully guaranteed for Bortles if he ends the season with an injury that keeps him from passing a physical by the middle of March.

Potential savings arise for the team only if the Jaguars and Bortles end up doing the year-to-year Kirk Cousins dance. Picking up the option delays the 44-percent spike in the player’s salary until 2021. Without the extra year on the rookie deal, Bortles would be eligible for the gigantic increase in 2020.

To realize that potential savings, the Jaguars are embracing the possibility that they’ll be stuck with the $19.05 million salary in 2018, even if after one year of the Tom Coughlin/Doug Marrone regime they decide to move on.

But don’t take our opinion for it. Express your own in the poll question below.

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17 Responses to “Did Jaguars make a mistake by picking up Bortles option?”
  1. noose18 says: May 1, 2017 5:31 PM

    No. Bortles is flawed, but he’s shown more promise than half the starting qbs in the nfl. He’s definitely the best thing the jags have seen since David Gerard. He’s still young and hasn’t reached his ceiling.

  2. harrisonhits2 says: May 1, 2017 5:44 PM

    Yeah but who’s out there to replace him? You have retreads like Cutler and Fitzpatrick who nobody wants and untried rookies who have more chance of being a bust and playing worse than Bortles than being better than him.

    Give him a season under Coughlin and lets see how he does.

  3. maust1013 says: May 1, 2017 5:47 PM

    If the Jaguars and Bortles end up doing the year-to-year Kirk Cousins dance it will be because he did something he hasn’t done before and ripped it up in ’17 and ’18. There are worse problems to have

  4. dino2997 says: May 1, 2017 5:50 PM

    The Jaguars are largely off the map and irrelevant which has allowed Bortles to skate by much like Stafford has in Detroit. All Bortles has to do is have nice stats. Winning games is irrelevant and he’ll play with the Jaguars for a long, long time.

  5. war27 says: May 1, 2017 6:01 PM

    I think they are just stuck. Do you cut bait and try again in the draft, pick up a Cutler or some other neverwasbeen?

    No matter what they do here it will be most likely wrong. Why not hope that the switch flips soon in a product you already know.

  6. notlistinin says: May 1, 2017 6:11 PM

    Bortles’ mechanics are terrible. Maybe he’s shell shocked like former Texans QB David Carr.

    The short answer is no if he’s working with a QB coach on his own and fixing his shortcomings. If he’s not then yes, it was a mistake. This can’t wait until mini camp, it’s that bad.

  7. waynefontesismyfather says: May 1, 2017 6:15 PM

    He’s definitely the best thing the jags have seen since David Gerard.

    Now there folks is a true homer! A completely irrelevant team which no one other than a Jags fan could name you a QB other than Bortles and Gabbert.

    I obviously forgot about Gerard and the weekly pummeling he took back in the day.

    Good stuff noose18, thanks the the laugh today.

  8. coltzfan166 says: May 1, 2017 6:25 PM

    The Jags don’t HAVE to offer Bortles $19 million in 2018 and a 20% raise in 2019. I don’t know why you would think that. They can (should) just let Bortles hit the open market in 2019 and let the market determine his value, because I guarantee no team will offer him anywhere close to $22 million per year. In the end, the can probably get him back for about $15/16 mil/year.

    The Redskins apparently don’t understand that.

  9. bighoser says: May 1, 2017 6:41 PM

    Yes, because they made the mistake of drafting him in the first place and passing on the likes of Donald, Mack, Carr (twice), etc. and so the Jags demonstrate the fallacy of sunk cost. Cut bait and see what the free market will pay him for his garbage time stats. Heck, he might even come crawling back after that but now they’ll never know…

  10. godhatescleveland says: May 1, 2017 6:42 PM

    Bortles to me is this generations Testaverde. Has skills, but just hasn’t put it all together yet and won consistently. Once Vinny left TB he had a very nice career. Maybe its the same for this guy.

  11. turingtst says: May 1, 2017 6:51 PM

    Left out of this analysis is the need to retain the franchise tag for other players. Allen Robinson, Telvin Smith, and Brandon Linder all need new contracts. That’s easier to do with the tag available as a negotiating tool.

  12. swagjag says: May 1, 2017 7:21 PM

    He’s been trying to do it on his own since he took over the starting role. Worst rushing avg per game in that period. How many QBs not named Brady, Brees, Rivers or Rodgers would be killing it with RBs like Denard Robinson, Toby Gerhart and TJ Yeldon handling the load? He regressed big time last year. He spent months in the off-season working on getting back to 2015 form. Picking up the option is a calculated risk that makes good business sense. If he repeatslast year’s performance with the upgrades on offense, they can cut him before March and start over.

  13. whenwilliteverend says: May 1, 2017 8:29 PM

    Good news for the Jags. He’ll put up good numbers again this year because he’ll stink it up so bad in the first half the game will be over by halftime. Then he can put up some impressive numbers in garbage time and make it look like he’s a halfway decent QB. He’s not.

  14. twodavegr says: May 1, 2017 9:17 PM

    It’s a team option. It’s guaranteed for injury only, which means unless Bortles is seriously injured, they can just cut him directly after the coming season. It’s likely they’ll either offer him a long-term deal after this season or else cut bait, so picking up the option gives the Jaguars a better negotiating position if a miracle happens and they want to lock Bortles up long-term.

  15. redsoxu571 says: May 2, 2017 1:41 AM

    I still think your contract arguments in these cases are full of nonsense.

    First, the Jaguars have only committed to the fifth year option, NOT a franchise tag, so why should they have to value total money to include the franchise tag?

    Second, PLAYERS BENEFIT from long-term deals. They secure some amount of long-term job security and a large amount of guaranteed riches in such deals, and so PLAYERS NEED TO BE WILLING TO SURRENDER SOMETHING IN RETURN. While I 100% agree that the Jaguars MUST offer the full amount of the fifth year option to start in a long-term offer, THAT’S IT. The franchise tag is irrelevant, because the team doesn’t HAVE to use it. If Bortles wants to test the market, he can. If not, the Jaguars can craft the remainder of the deal as it wishes, and Bortles can take it or leave it.

  16. jags2daship says: May 2, 2017 11:51 AM

    Oh god forbid he starts playing well and we have to pay him. Go count your own pennies and stop worrying about ours.

  17. Drunk Uncle says: May 2, 2017 12:10 PM

    If the Jags don’t compete for a playoff spot this year under Bortles, they never will. Their defense is sick on paper. Their offensive line is the best it’s been in a decade or so, and there is talent at the skill positions for a change.

    Barring a crazy amount of injuries, it’s safe to put the blame on Bortles if they have a losing season.

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