What leverage did Bortles really have?

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The three-year, $54 million deal given by the Jaguars to quarterback Blake Bortles looks on the surface like a good deal for the team. With the market for quarterbacks finally approaching $30 million, the Jaguars got Bortles for only $3 million per year more than the Bears paid to glorified placeholder Mike Glennon a year ago.

But there’s also an argument to be made that the Jaguars paid Bortles too much. Think of it from the player’s perspective. If the Jaguars had cut Bortles before his $19 million base salary for 2018 became fully guaranteed on March 14, who would have paid him $18 million per year, while also giving him a chance to make another $12 million over the course of the next three years? Who would have given him that money along with a promise that he wouldn’t be this year’s version of Glennon, holding the No. 1 job on the depth chart until supplanted in October by a first-round draft pick who unexpectedly arrives in late April?

Consider the teams that are, or may be, looking at free-agent options: the Bills, Jets, Browns, Broncos, Giants, Vikings, and Cardinals. Which would have gone all-in with Bortles based on his four years in Jacksonville? Which would have paid him so much that it would have made no sense to also draft a potential franchise quarterback?

In the end, his best leverage came from two things: (1) his $19 million salary for 2018; and (2) the team’s realization that other available free-agent options would cost too much, disrupting the ability to keep other key players in place. It definitely didn’t come from what he could have gotten from another team, because he wouldn’t have gotten $18 million per year (with the chance to get $22 million per year) along with a presumed role as the 2018 starter.

That said, the length of the deal still allows the Jaguars to do to Bortles what the Bears did to Glennon. But Bortles will get more than $26 million guaranteed at signing, $7 million more than he would have gotten if the Jaguars had decided to let him enter his option year.

Still, it’s fair to call this one a win-win, possibly paving the way for winning one or two more postseason games in 2018 or 2019.

24 responses to “What leverage did Bortles really have?

  1. I am a Vikings fan, I still think Bridgewater is still better than Bortles. He took Minnesota to the Playoffs and beat the Packers to win the Division his 2nd year. He looked great in his 3rd year pre season games..then it happened. Bortles is a solid QB and he played hurt. He just doesn’t have that “it factor” that makes other players play harder,
    Teddy also finds ways to win games in clutch situations.
    THAT was with the Leagues worst Offensive line! (or very close to it) I hope Minnesota signs both Bridgewater and Bradford again but this time give both a shot at the starting job.
    Also have their contracts set so the one that starts gets the big money. Face it NOBODY want Bradford right now. other than a backup. This would give him at least a chance….
    Who knows NOW??? Bortles may end up better than Carr AND Bridgewater..

  2. I don’t think it is a valid argument. First, he is making less in 2018 than he would have had they done nothing. They keep the core intact and are banking on some improvement while likely drafting a replacement in April. Had they gone with an expensive FA, that would have likely precluded keeping core assets in place. Second, the contract is incentive laden, which is the way these contracts should be. If you perform, you get paid. Keeps you from getting Albert Haynesworth like scenarios. Third, $18 mil is way below market value. Who cares what someone else would have, could have, or should have paid? That’s not how you judge the success of being a GM.

  3. Bortles improved significantly last year working with Marrone and Coughlin, and it’s quite possible he will continue to improve. Quite a few quarterbacks get a bad rap when more of the blame should be pointed to poor coaching and lousy management.

  4. .
    Bortles is best playing on a team with a strong defense. He’s proved he can play well within his limitations.
    .

  5. Now they have 2 extra years to draft a qb if they don’t want to trade up for one this year. Bortles helped get them to the playoffs once, and with the Allens back in the mix next year you know Coughlin is hoping to repeat at minimum. Smart move AND for cheap? That’s a rarity in this league unless you’re Belichick.

  6. Good deal for Bortles because it is short term—if he continues to improve he will soon have a chance at the big dollars when he is in a better bargaining position. Also avoiding state income taxes in Florida this new deal is worth more than if he were playing for another team.

  7. He had plenty of leverage. He knows that the Jags will be in salary cap hell quite easily. Over the next couple years, they will be getting alot of players that will be coming up for big money. In fact, they didn’t have much for this year. S

    The comparison to Glennon is embarrassing, I mean really, when has Glennon ever led anyone to anything. Bortles was the QB for a team that was in the AFC championship. Yes the defense was most of the reason, the same can be said for a bunch of QBs.

  8. If I have to hear one more homer Viking fan declare their endless dying love for Teddy small hands…..we get it, you love he can still walk after that gruesome injury….he was never or will be a decent QB.

  9. Unlike other sports, the NFL salary cap is a hard cap.
    Every dollar thats used to over pay a mediocre player is not available to pay a midlevel player a fraction of what the first guy is making.
    If you pay Bortles a “FAIR” salary (lets pretend its 24MM) then you have 6MM less to spend on other players.
    And the team suffers too.
    Who does that benefit, other than Bortles?

    If Bortles had demanded more, well the team had him at 19MM if they wanted him. But they could have let him walk too.
    Who else would pay him 19MM?
    Would the Giants want him?
    Denver?
    Jets?
    Bills?
    Browns?

    Not at 19MM.

  10. thepopefromtv says:
    February 25, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Now they have 2 extra years to draft a qb if they don’t want to trade up for one this year. Bortles helped get them to the playoffs once, and with the Allens back in the mix next year you know Coughlin is hoping to repeat at minimum. Smart move AND for cheap? That’s a rarity in this league unless you’re Belichick.
    ———————————————————————–

    Only problem is Hurns is a likely cap casualty and Robinson is likely to leave for a larger offer in free agency.
    I think Bortles shown enough last season though for them to give him another 2 seasons. He played well enough to beat New England.

  11. I don’t get my fellow Viking fans bragging up Teddy, particularly on non-Viking articles. 99% of Minnesota fans love the guy, but I think only about 30% think he can still start effectively in this league. I’d similarly be interested to find out how many Jags fans, if given a definitive choice, really want Bortles as their starting QB?

  12. That simplified the draft, 1st Young TE, 2nd Rd Defensive Back 3rd Offensive line
    Best available reminder.
    Free Agency Young Unknowned under radar QB Backup,Linebacker.

  13. 6ball says:

    Bortles is best playing on a team with a strong defense.
    ==================================================

    Well no kidding. Everyone is.

  14. It was a desperate move by the Jaguars. Blake Bortles 4th quarter stats against the Patriots after being up 20-10 in the AFCC game

    -Three plays, 9 yards, punt
    -Five plays, 22 yards, punt
    -Three plays, -1 yard, punt
    -Six plays, 32 yards, turnover on downs

    This includes going three and out after the Jaguars defense forced a fumble giving the ball right back to the Patriots offense that started to roll.

  15. “I am a Vikings fan, I still think Bridgewater is still better than Bortles. He took Minnesota to the Playoffs and beat the Packers to win the Division his 2nd year. ”

    Now wait a minute. We constantly see you Barneys posting about how awful Green Bay’s D is and you’ve done that for years. Either they were good and it was a real accomplishment to win the division, or they sucked like you guys all claim and it was no big feat for Bridgewater to beat the Packers.

  16. Bortles did something Kirk Cousins, Sam Bradford, Andy Dalton, Matt Stafford, and Jimmy Garoppolo have never done, and that is taking his team to the conference championship game and then coming within a single score of reaching the SB. In fact, most of these quarterbacks listed above will probably retire without doing that.

  17. Hey Bortles was a final four QB last season….something that none of the three QB’s in the NFC South can say (at least for 2017). That said, maybe Bortles shouldn’t have been taken third overall, but he certainly isn’t a bust like Russell, Couch, Harrington and other top three draft QB’s were/

  18. Did Bortles do this by himself with his good play? Or did the rest of the team do most of it?

    ——————————
    >>omeimontis says:

    >>Bortles did something Kirk Cousins, Sam Bradford, Andy Dalton, Matt Stafford, and Jimmy Garoppolo have never done, and that is taking his team to the conference championship game and then coming within a single score of reaching the SB. In fact, most of these quarterbacks listed above will probably retire without doing that.

  19. If anything, it shows the Jaguars did not want to pay Cousins what he will get on the open market. And that they are not enamored by the likely QB options at 29.

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