JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Jaguars are out of the quarterback market. On Saturday night they signed Blake Bortles to a contract extension.
According to reports Bortles inked a new three-year, $54 million deal, worth up to $66.5M with incentives. The deal includes $26.5M guaranteed. The move has Bortles under contract in Jacksonville through the 2020 season.
"I told Ryan [Tollner], my agent, I was like, ‘man, let’s just get it done so I can just go play football," said Bortles. "I really would love to know and have confirmation that this is where I’m going to be, and now let’s go to work and continue to build on what we did last year and go play.’ So happy and relieved and obviously extremely excited. It’s a dream come true to be able to sign a second contract by the team that drafted me. That was one of my goals from the start. It’s exciting to get it all done and get rolling now.”
Bortles was scheduled make just over $19 million in 2018 after the team picked up his fifth-year option last May.
The 2017 season was one full of ups and downs for Bortles. Back during training camp he was briefly benched before regaining his status as the Jaguars starting quarterback.
Bortles responded by putting together his best year as a pro. He completed a career high 60.2 percent of his passes and threw a career low 13 interceptions.
"Blake's growth and development last season was a key to the success we had as a team," said Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin. "Blake has proven, with toughness and dependability, that he can be the leader this team needs going forward. Along with this contract come high expectations that he will continue to improve and help our team accomplish its ultimate goal."
The argument could be made that there are several quarterbacks that could put up better numbers than the 3,687 passing yards and 21 touchdowns that Bortles produced in 2017. Those numbers also should come with an asterisk.
He played essentially the entire season without his top receiver Allen Robinson who tore his ACL in the regular season opener at Houston. Veteran receivers Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee both missed multiple games with injuries.
At one point of the season Bortles had two rookies and an undrafted free agent as his top three receivers.
A stronger emphasis on the running game put less pressure on Bortles who was tasked with taking care of the football as his main objective.
The result was seen in the win column. A year after going 3-13 the Jaguars went 10-6 during the regular season and won the AFC South title for the first time in franchise history.
After playoff wins against Buffalo and Pittsburgh the Jaguars came within a quarter of beating New England in the AFC Championship.
Bortles played some of the best football of his career in the playoffs. In the end it wasn’t enough to get past Tom Brady and advance to the Super Bowl. However it was clearly enough for the Jaguars to feel comfortable moving forward with Bortles for the next couple of seasons.
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