Jaguars release Blake Bortles — what's next for veteran QB?
The Jacksonville Jaguars announced on Wednesday that they have released quarterback Blake Bortles.
The Jaguars selected Bortles with the third pick of the 2014 draft, and he has been their starting quarterback since. In five seasons, the Jaguars compiled a 24-49 record in games that Bortles started, a rate the prompted them to make a change at the position this week by agreeing to a four-year $88 million deal with Nick Foles.
The news of Bortles’ release was expected in the wake of the Foles deal.
Bortles averaged 235.5 passing yards per game in Jacksonville while throwing for 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions with a 59.3 percent completion rate.
The Jaguars remained one of the NFL’s worst teams with Bortles at the helm until 2017, when a powerful defense led Jacksonville to the AFC championship game.
One season too late?
Jacksonville decided last offseason to not make a move at quarterback, despite having a Super Bowl-caliber defense and Bortles having shown no signs of advancement.
His 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while throwing for 230.4 yards per game on a 60.2 completion rate during that 10-6 season were numbers largely in line with his career stats.
They signed Bortles to a three-year extension last offseason with $26.5 million in guaranteed money — a deal Bortles will fall two years short of seeing to fruition.
When the Jaguars regressed to 5-11 last season in a campaign that saw Bortles benched for Cody Kessler, Jacksonville finally decided it was time to move on. He won’t stick around to back up Foles.
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What’s next for Bortles?
Where will Bortles land? Nowhere as a starter. Those days are likely numbered for the former first-round pick out of Central Florida — at least until a team gets desperate enough to give him a chance.
The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are among the teams in the market for a backup quarterback.
Brett Hundley just reportedly left his job backing up Russell Wilson for the Arizona Cardinals, leaving Paxton Lynch as the quarterback behind Wilson on the depth chart.
The Broncos will be looking for someone to back up Joe Flacco after dealing Case Keenum to the Washington Redskins.
What about quarterback-desperate Washington? Keenum will presumably compete with Colt McCoy for the starting job barring a move in the draft. Tossing a player like Bortles into the mix doesn’t seem like something Washington wouldn’t do.
Could Bortles follow Hackett to Green Bay?
The Green Bay Packers could be in the mix as well with former Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett running the offense for Aaron Rodgers. It would be somewhat of a bizarre move considering Green Bay traded for 2017 second-round pick DeShone Kizer last offseason. But hiring the offensive coordinator of the Jaguars was a strange move too.
The New York Jets could be in the market for a backup to Sam Darnold with 16-year veteran Josh McCown entering free agency and possibly mulling retirement.
Either way, Bortles and the Jaguars have moved on from each other. And that’s good news for all parties involved.
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