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Jaguars end the Blake Bortles era — 1 year too late

Blake Bortles’ release came 1 year too late for the Jaguars

The Jaguars could’ve cut ties with Blake Bortles and cleared him from the books in 2018. Instead, he’ll be a sunk cost through 2020.



ShareBlake Bortles’ release came 1 year too late for the Jaguars

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Five years after taking Blake Bortles with the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars have parted ways with the quarterback.

It was an expected move for a while, but especially after the Jaguars signed Nick Foles to a four-year, $88 million deal in free agency.

Bortles, 26, sat behind Chad Henne on the Jaguars depth chart for the first three games of his rookie year before taking over as starter in Week 4 of the 2014 season. He then started the next 72 regular season games and three postseason games for the Jaguars. His 75-game starting streak is the longest in Jacksonville franchise history and the 25th longest streak in NFL history.

For parts of that run, Bortles was a more than capable starting quarterback. In the last four seasons, he had 14 games with a passer rating over 100. The Jaguars were 10-4 in those games.

But then Bortles had 16 games over that span with a passer rating below 65. Jacksonville was 2-14 in those games.

Bortles’ 75 interceptions are the most any player has thrown since he entered the league. His 13 career pick sixes are tied for 25th all-time with Tom Brady, who has played in 14 more NFL seasons.

Now he’s gone … a little too late.

The Jaguars should’ve cut Bortles a year ago

In hindsight, Jacksonville would’ve been wise to move on from Bortles and his $19.053 million fifth-year option during the 2018 offseason.

Instead, the Jaguars decided the best way to go all-in on a Super Bowl run was to give Bortles a three-year, $54 million extension. That was a huge whiff, but it made a little bit of sense at the time. Kinda.

The Jaguars came razor close to beating the Patriots in AFC Championship to get to Super Bowl 52. Leading the way for that team in 2017 was an elite defense and a league-leading rushing attack.

Bortles wasn’t to blame for the Jaguars’ postseason elimination. He had a 94.1 passer rating in a 45-42 win over the Steelers in the Divisional Round and a 98.5 rating in the 24-20 loss to the Patriots.

So the Jaguars decided it only needed a few tweaks — not an overhaul at quarterback — to get over the hump and into the Super Bowl. The extension also freed up over $9 million in cap space for Jacksonville to add a few pieces they thought would make the difference like Donte Moncrief and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

But things went south. Way south.

Bortles regressed a bit. His struggles were made worse by the poor ply and absence of Leonard Fournette, a lackluster receiving corps, and an offensive line decimated by injuries. The Jaguars finished 5-11, a shockingly bad year after entering the season with loads of optimism.

What makes the decision to bring Bortles back for another year really bad is now the Jaguars are stuck with the quarterback on the books for two more seasons.

Releasing Bortles doesn’t save that much

Hunting for an upgrade at quarterback is an overdue project for the Jaguars, and signing Foles might not even accomplish that goal.

The $20.8 million cap hit for Bortles was set to be the team’s biggest drain on the salary cap in 2019, but cutting him will only save the team $4.3 million of it. The caveat is that the Jaguars wrote offset language into his contract that means his next team will absorb some of that remaining $16.5 million.

For example, if a team signs Bortles to a $3 million deal to be a backup in 2019, the Jaguars get an additional $3 million of savings from parting ways with Bortles.

Either way, he’ll count heavily against the Jaguars’ salary cap in 2019 and $5 million against the cap in 2020.

Now, the Jaguars will hope Foles is an upgrade worth $22 million per year and the sunk cost of Bortles. That’s awfully optimistic.

NFL Free Agency Special with Field Yates and Adam Schefter | NFL on ESPN

NFL Insiders Field Yates and Bill Barnwell break down all the latest news, including the blockbuster trade that sent Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants to the Cleveland Browns, with the start of the league year and free agency.
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Court Reinstates Murder Conviction For Former NFL Star Aaron Hernandez | TIME

Massachusetts scrapped a state legal principle and reinstated the murder conviction of the late NFL player Aaron Hernandez.
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Court Reinstates Murder Conviction For Former NFL Star Aaron Hernandez | TIME

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NFL Free Agency Rumors & News On Eric Berry, Golden Tate Plus Jordan Howard Trade Rumors

NFL Free Agency rumors & news have been circulating and our top story today is around the Chiefs cutting safety Eric Berry. There are more 2019 free agency rumors around Golden Tate signing with the Patriots, 49ers, and even the Giants. Last the Bears have been shopping running back Jordan Howard, could the Raiders trade for the running back? NFL Daily by Chat Sports hosted by Tom Downey & Mitchell Renz have you covered if you missed any of the latest NFL rumors or breaking news.

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Earl Thomas was rumored to the Browns before signing with the Ravens, could NFL teams that need safety play target Berry despite him only playing 3 games the last two years? Where will the top free agent wide receiver Golden Tate sign after seeing the Raiders sign Tyrell Williams to a 4-year $44 MM contract? Jordan Howard didn’t fit in the Bears offense under Matt Nagy will he be traded? The latest Raiders trade rumors suggest this as a possibility.

New York Giants traded away Odell Beckham Jr. which is leaving some people wondering what their plan is to do in the 2019 NFL Draft and if it could mean Eli Manning getting cut. More Browns trade rumors as Cleveland is shopping Emmanuel Ogbah.

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Chiefs Cut Eric Berry
Eric Berry to Browns?
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Williams Back To Panthers
Tyrell Williams To Raiders
Earl Thomas To Ravens
Mark Ingram to Ravens
Peterson Stays With Redskins
Giants cutting Eli Manning?
Teddy Bridgewater Staying With Saints?
Emmanuel Ogbah Trade?
Golden Tate to 49ers?
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Tevin Coleman to Eagles?
Tevin Coleman to Raiders?
Jordan Howard to the Raiders?


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