Jaguars have $19 million decision to make, fairly soon


Now that the 2017 season has ended for the Jaguars, a critical decision has moved immediately to the top of the to-do list. What to do with quarterback Blake Bortles?

As a top-10 pick in 2014, Bortles is entitled to a fully-guaranteed fifth-year option of $19 million for 2018. The Jaguars can avoid that only by cutting him on or before the start of the league year in March.

They could sign him to a long-term deal with $19 million as a starting point.  They could choose to pay him the 2018 salary and kick the can for a year, setting the stage for a franchise-tag face-off in 2019. Or they could cut him before the money becomes guaranteed, thrusting him into the open market before the market officially opens and hoping to re-sign him to a multi-year deal reflected by the interest, or lack thereof, in his services.

There’s a fourth option: Cut him and move on to someone else. Someone they would trust to do something other than take a knee twice with 55 seconds left in the first half of an AFC title game. Someone who could chew time off the clock late in the fourth quarter of a championship game with a three-point lead. Someone who could lead the team down the field with a four-point deficit and a Super Bowl berth in the balance.

Only the Jaguars coaches and front-office staff fully appreciate the lengths to which the offense went to accentuate Bortles’ strengths and conceal his weaknesses. Only executive V.P. of football operations Tom Coughlin knows whether and to what extent Bortles compares favorably at this point in his career to Eli Manning, who has shown not once but twice that he can do what needs to be done to deliver victory against New England in a fairly big spot.

Whether it’s Bortles or Eli or someone else, the most important position in pro football becomes the most pressing question for the Jaguars. And if they pick the right one, they could be one of the two teams getting ready for Super Bowl LIII, only 52 weeks from now.

42 responses to “Jaguars have $19 million decision to make, fairly soon

  1. Cut him. The Patriots will offer him 17 million to be Tom Brady’s heir apparent. He’ll get 5 super bowls and everyone will hate the Patriots more.

  2. Move on. Any QB that has the potential to throw the ball like Tim Tebow in any given game is not to be trusted in big spots. It amazes me how this guy can either be really good or god awful with no in-between.

  3. I would trade him straight up for Eli Manning
    Giants get a QB that is young, maybe he’ll develop under Shurmur
    Jaguars get a veteran QB for about 2-3 years
    But in all honesty I really believe Kirk Cousins will be in Jacksonville
    Use the $19M on him instead of paying Bortles

  4. Cousins, Manning or Brees. But NOT this guy. doesn’t have the 5th gear mentally or physically.

  5. The talking heads were on this, this morning. “How can the Jags get rid of a QB that just took them to the AFCCG?” they asked.
    But the fact is Bortles had the ball with less than 2 minutes to go and needed a TD to go to the SB. He didn’t get it done. Franchise QBs perform in that situation. Period.
    Guys like Bortles, Alex Smith, Fitzpatrick and a few others can almost get you there but not quite.

  6. Florio we finally agree on something…you hit the nail on the head. You start the week off with an A.

    “Someone they would trust to do something other than take a knee twice with 55 seconds left in the first half of an AFC title game.”

  7. What a sad state of affairs the NFL is in if there is even a discussion about moving on from Bortles. He had a chance to win the game at the end yesterday and came up short. He is not a franchise QB but the Jaguars are stuck with him. They are picking too late in the draft and there aren’t viable QB’s in free market. Good luck Jaguars with Deshaun Watson in your division. You are going to need it.

  8. Hard to say but this could be a different conversation if Fournette dives for that pass on 2nd down. Jags would have had the ball around the Pats 10 yard line and a first down.

  9. Eli is 37, not a long term solution. Look how fast his brother fell of the cliff – throwing a total of 94 TDs in 2013 and 2014 and complete noodle arm in 2015. Eli is not far behind.

    Things jelled for Bortles this year, he had a strong cast of player around him wand was not constantly playing catch up football. I would pay him the $19 mil and net year will show if this season was a aboration or if the Jags really have something here.

  10. Sorry but he’s not worth $19M. He’s essentially a game manager. That defense is the reason they were in the playoffs, not Bortles. The only way I can see them picking up the option is if they plan to take a QB in this year’s draft and plan on having him replace Bortles in 2019.

    A long-term contract with $19M as the starting point? No way. I doubt any NFL team thinks that way either.

  11. Jaguars did everything necessary to win that game. Had the Patriots been flagged even once for holding (like, any one of the times their O-linemen were tackling pass rushers from behind, for instance), the Jags would have won.

    The team ia built on ball control; running and defense. Bortles is good enough to brong them back next year, they should spend their money and efforts on depth on defense and at the RB position.

  12. The Jags cannot draft and develop a QB as their defense is in its prime while several of their cornerstone players are still on their rookie contracts; the Jaguars just do not have the time so it is Bortles, Bridgewater, Bradford, Keenam, Cousins, Brees (unlikely to be available), Manning (if he wants to leave the Giants), Alex Smith, AJ McCarron (particularly if he wins his February 15 arbitration), Geno Smith, Tyrod Taylor etc. Jimmy G is going to be franchised while Foles and Brissett may be available. I wonder if Jaguar fans will support trading one inconsistent QB for another team’s backup. I think Alex Smith or Eli Manning would probably be a good bet to take the team back to the AFC Championship game next year.

  13. In the Super Bowl against the Packers the Steelers had the ball down six with 2 minutes left and a chance to win the game, and Ben couldn’t get it done. It happens.

    I thought Bortles actually made two good throws on the last three plays. One was stopped by good defense, and the other fell incomplete after a bizarre lack of effort from Fournette that I don’t think is getting enough discussion. The ball seemed to hit the ground about two steps away from him on a play he never even put out his hands.

  14. You folks are a riot. Only 4-5 teams actually have franchise QBs and you all think that the Jags will just go out and pick one up? The Jags will cut Bortles because he isn’t worth $19m and then re-sign him to $12-13m to play next year, because no one else will give him $19m either.

    I’m a Pats fan and he showed me yesterday that he’s able to play – it’s NOT his fault that the coaches didn’t trust him to win the game yesterday, put that blame where it belongs, on Marrone.

  15. Blake Bortles will be their starter. He did well for 3 quarters then his line let him down he was getting blasted by Harrison and Flowers towards the end of the game.

  16. Say whatever you want, but I keep him. He isn’t the reason the Jags didn’t win yesterday… he isn’t even the reason they took a knee with 55 seconds. Marrone was interviewed on the field after the half and he even said that they wanted to get to the half to regroup (after the score). Bortles played extremely well down the stretch and can now spend the off-season working on the little things and continuing to learn Hackett’s system.

    Contract… I’d offer up 5 year, $75MM with 2 years guaranteed (yes, $30MM) and draft a QB in the 2nd round to replace Henne. Henne is useless and has a bloated contract that you can replace with a rookie deal. If Bortles stalls in his development, then you move on after the 2 years. The guy has spent his entire career, prior to this year, ‘playing from behind’ and this was the first year where he was able to just play QB. He’s not Brady, we all know that. He was darn good this year and as an actual fan on this team vs. someone feeling the need to talk about a team they don’t follow… I’ll ride with BB5.

  17. I like how deneb1973 actually put in some thought. He is correct. Do people trust any of the rookies to be a year 1 SB QB? Because that is the Jaguars goal. Its also why its tough to say “play out Bortles contract to “see is this year was a fluke.” A $19 million dollar fingers crossed move that could eliminate a year off their SB window (and still have them needing to find a QB.

    They need to sign a guy they believe in. That could be 2 years of ELI, as Super Bowl windows only stay open for 3 years for most teams.

    Also, $19 million is going to be the going rate for game manager QB’s. Carr makes 25, Brees, Ryan, Cousins (who else) are going to get more (way more) in the next few months. $19 milluion is going to be cheap.

  18. .
    Bortles played outstanding yesterday against a solid Patriots defense in their home stadium. It took a spectacular play by Gilmore to defend the final pass which was right on target to Westbrook. If Gilmore misses, it could have been six. Against Pittsburgh and New England he looked like a quality NFL QB. Against Buffalo, not so much.

  19. Please don’t compare Alex Smith to Blake Bortles

    I saw Alex pass for 400 yards and 4 TD’s in a playoff game and only lose because of his crappy D and poor coaching

    And this year Andy’s terrible play calling and time management lost them the game

    Blake Bortles isn’t anywhere close to Alex Smith

  20. Teams make the biggest mistakes when they believe that they will improve or even tread water by staying the course. In reality, it doesn’t work that way and there is no guarantee that Houston, with a healthy Merciless and Watson won’t be better than the Jags in 2018.

    The question for Coughlin and Marrone is whether Bortles passed the eye test. He did well for most of the first half when the Patriots put no pressure on him and he looked like a second or third tier quarterback after that. This will come down to weighing that $19 million and other options.

  21. Truth. How sad is it that we are even talking about Bortles and 19 million dollars. Are QBs really that rare I can’t see paying Bortles anything close to that amount. Jags defense got them to the playoffs. This has the smell of another Oswieller fiasco.

  22. A thing that bugged me yesterday (not as much as the refs keeping the Patriots in the game) was that he didn’t run the ball a single time. He’s shown many times in the past that he can get things done with his legs.

  23. jjackwagon says:
    January 22, 2018 at 11:36 am
    The talking heads were on this, this morning. “How can the Jags get rid of a QB that just took them to the AFCCG?” they asked.

    The same way the Titans got rid of a coach that just took them to the playoffs

  24. Jacksonville is not the place for Bortles to succeed because they have little confidence in him and therefore will release him. It will be interesting to see how he progresses with a different team because he is talented.

  25. A thing that bugged me yesterday (not as much as the refs keeping the Patriots in the game) was that he didn’t run the ball a single time.
    That was bizarre….as was the OC’s insistence on running inside every first down.

  26. Blake Bortles can suck sometimes but dont blame him for yesterday. The coaches chose to kneel before the half. The real chokers were the defense who also almost gave the game away to Pittsburgh. Play 4 quarters if you want to be great.

    Blake Bortles isnt worth 18 mill per year longterm but for one year its ok.

  27. These games prove Eli’s worthiness for the Hall. Every other QB has crapped the bed against NE. When that 4th Q rolls around and the crushing pressure of the greatest coach ever and greatest QB ever mounts, Eli is the only one who has withstood it…………..twice!

    You can have your QBRs, regular season TD/INT splits, reg season W/L, etc., etc. Give me the guy who isn’t fazed by the greatest.

  28. Makes no difference. Jags will be 6-10 again next year after this fluke of a season.

    They had no business in the playoffs, let alone the Championship game. Free pass for Pats.

  29. Maybe they could pick up one of the Vikings soon to be free agent QB’s instead. I was told that they’re nothing but winners.

  30. How many bad throws did he make? I can’t remember any. He made some perfect throws at key junctures. He protected the football. Fournette plays most plays and he clearly isn’t a receiver except for dup offs. James White makes that catch of that late fourth quarter ball Fournette didn’t get. Grandpa is his tight end. He did fumble once at a key point. On their final play he stepped up in the pocket and threw a perfect pass that could have won the game if not for an even better play by Gilmore.

    In my mind, he stepped up big against both the Steelers and Patriots on the road. I keep and develop him like the Patriots developed Brady. He wants to stay. I expect he will sign a team friendly deal.

  31. Jags are on the verge of greatness. This year was not a fluke. They have shutdown CB and playmakers at every level of their defense. They have an outstanding RB and serviceable offensive line. WR and QB position are just average. If they upgrade those positions they become very scary.

  32. Let him go! He is a number 3 overall selection bust like so many others! He is a poor mans version of Joe Flacco! Use that 19 million and get yourself some real offensive tackles to help the running game, then draft Jackson and get you a play maker at that position because your roster is young and loaded! Bring in a Russell Wilson type player and keep surrounding him with talent, get rid of Bortles.

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