It’s safe to say the Jaguars will be exercising the fifth-year option on quarterback Blake Bortles’ contract.
“I’ve said this time and time again: ‘I think we can win a lot of games with Blake; I think we can win a Super Bowl with Blake,” Jaguars G.M. Dave Caldwell said at the Senior Bowl, via the team’s official website. “I think he needs to improve and I think we need to improve around him, too, in order for that to happen. . . . [He] is still young. He is still growing. . . .
“I think the future is bright for him. I have a lot of confidence in him. I know he has the makeup in terms of intelligence, competitiveness, his hard work, his effort, so if he has those things I think the rest of it will come.”
Caldwell suggested that Bortles “from a national standpoint got beat up for most of the year,” and that “some of it [was] accurate, some of it not very accurate.”
Bortles threw a career-low (by one) 16 interception in 2016, and his passer rating dropped by more than nine points. His yards per attempt dipped from 7.3 to 6.2, and his touchdown passes declined from 35 to 23.
The broader question becomes whether the Jaguars will try to sign Bortles to a second contract before or after his fourth NFL season. With two more years under his current deal (if they pick up the option), there’s no reason to rush to do a new contract — unless they anticipate that the major jump that didn’t happen in 2016 will happen in 2017.