According to general manager David Caldwell, the Jaguars have not yet decided whether to exercise the fifth-year option of Bortles' contract, Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports. The third overall pick in 2014, Bortles has largely disappointed through his first three seasons, as evidenced by his career 6.59 yards per attempt, 69:51 TD:INT, and 11-34 record as a starter. Although he'll still only be 25 years old this season, his option would equal the average of the 10 highest-paid quarterbacks in the league, which is territory Bortles clearly doesn't belong in. Unsurprisingly, the Jaguars won't admit that directly, but the most likely scenario seems to be them declining his option and hoping the urgency of a contract year inspires improvement from Bortles ahead of a possible franchise tag next offseason.
The Jaguars may not pick up the fifth-year option on Bortles' rookie contract, The Florida Times-Union reports. After taking a big step back from his breakout 2015 campaign last season, Bortles is essentially preparing for a make-or-break year in 2017, the final year of his rookie contract. As a top-10 selection -- No. 3 overall in 2014 -- Bortles would have a fifth-year option equal to the average of the 10 highest-paid players at his position. The figure likely would fall somewhere in the range of $20-25 million, which is a lot to pay for a quarterback who completed only 58.9 percent of his passes for 6.3 yards per attempt last season. The Jaguars don't need to decide on the option until shortly after the draft, and even if they decline it and Bortles then enjoys a strong season, the team can use its franchise tag to prevent him from signing elsewhere next offseason. The franchise tag would be similar to the fifth-year option in terms of salary, but using the tag on Bortles would prevent the Jaguars from applying it to another player from their impressive 2014 draft class -- a group that includes WRs Allen Robinson and Marquise Lee, LB Telvin Smith and CB Aaron Colvin.
Bortles said he is pleased with his throwing mechanics at the moment, Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports. Bortles has spent a significant portion of his offseason at 3DQB -- the QB training facility he utilized prior to his solid 2015 campaign. He stayed in Jacksonville last offseason to work with his receivers in preparation for what was ultimately a highly disappointing campaign. It seems he'll get the best of both worlds this time around, as he's already been working with Marqise Lee in California and will soon join Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns in Arizona. Of course, these kinds of reports are a dime a dozen in the offseason, with nearly every player embarking on some type of training regimen between the Super Bowl and the start of OTAs. Bortles still has a ton to prove as he enters the final year of his rookie contract, a season that could potentially serve as his last chance to prove he can be Jacksonville's franchise quarterback.
Bortles spent more than half of the 2016 season playing through a slight separation in his right shoulder, ESPN.com reports. Furthermore, he dealt with tendinitis in his right wrist during the latter portion of the campaign. According to Bortles, he sustained a Grade 1 sprain to his right AC joint in Week 8 and aggravated the injury three games later, which marked the first mention of a shoulder concern during the season. However, after practicing fully to kick off Week 12 prep, Bortles sustained this activity level for the rest of the year. In a season in which he appeared to take a step back, especially when it came to his mechanics, these ailments may have been to blame. Nonetheless, he completed 59 percent of his passes for 3,905 yards while cobbling together a 23:16 TD:INT ratio in 16 contests.
Bortles completed 25 of 39 passes for 301 yards and a touchdown while rushing three times for 21 yards Sunday in Indianapolis. He also lost a pair of fumbles in the 24-20 loss. One week after throwing for 300 yards and winning in the same game for the first time, Bortles saw his career record in 300-yard performances drop to 1-11. His strong finish was likely enough to secure next year's starting gig for the third-year Jaguars signal caller, but it's tough to feel good about Bortles given his massive regression from a 35-touchdown sophomore campaign. He finishes with 3,905 yards, 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
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