One of the biggest offseason questions now has an answer. Blake Bortles will be the quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaguars next season, and will be sticking around longer than that. According to multiple reports, the Jaguars will sign Bortles to a contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2020 season.
Our own Jason La Canfora is reporting that the deal is worth $54 million for three years with $26.5 million guaranteed. He can earn $12.5 million more in incentives and escalators.
Smart move by Jaguars keeping Bortles rather than spending on Cousins. Now can keep team together— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) February 25, 2018
The Jaguars surprised many around the league by picking up the $14 million fifth-year option on Bortles' contract prior to last season. That dollar amount would have become guaranteed if the Jaguars did not cut ties with Bortles by March 14, a decision complicated by the fact that he underwent offseason shoulder surgery. Instead, that decision will not have to be made as Bortles has been signed to a new deal.
According to the Florida Times-Union, Bortles' contract is likely to lower his 2018 cap hit, allowing the Jaguars more maneuverability under the cap in order to re-sign players and plug the holes on their roster. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the specific financials of the deal, which guarantees Bortles $26.5 million.
Jaguars are giving QB Blake Bortles a new three-year, $54 million deal, worth up to $66.5M with incentives, that includes $26.5M guaranteed, tying him to Jacksonville through the 2020 season, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 25, 2018
Jacksonville out of QB market.
Bortles has been largely unimpressive and occasionally catastrophic as the Jaguars' starter since being drafted with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, but he has shown flashes of competence during that time. The team minimized his role in the offense during the 2017 season, leaning on the defense and the running game to pummel teams into submission. It worked like wonders, sending the Jags to the AFC title game.
It was a common school of thought heading into the offseason that an upgrade at quarterback to push the Jaguars over the top in the AFC given the quality of their defense, but that would have necessitated cutting ties with Bortles, paying a free-agent top dollar, and potentially forgoing filling other holes on the roster. It could have been done, but it would have been tight. Instead, the Jags elected to stay the course. It seems likely that they bring in at least some veteran competition/insurance for Bortles, but a two-year extension seems to point toward him remaining the starter.