Jaguars 'actively' exploring their QB options

by Steven Clarke February 26, 2018, 1:49
Jaguars 'actively' exploring their QB options

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced their major move of signing quarterback Blake Bortles to a lucrative three-year extension that could be worth up to $66.5 million over the duration of the deal.

Bortles' new deal is through the 2020 season and reportedly worth $54million with $26.5m guaranteed.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan gave contract extensions to personnel chief Tom Coughlin, general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Doug Marrone on Friday that carry through 2021.

Blake Bortles will be the quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaguars next season, and will be sticking around longer than that.

The Jaguars held a 10-point fourth-quarter lead before the Patriots rallied for a 24-20 victory. Undrafted rookie Keelan Cole and fourth-round pick Dede Westbrook, who missed the first nine games of the season recovering from sports hernia surgery, were Bortles' main options during a late-season stretch.

But thanks to a 2017 campaign that saw him compile 3,687 passing yards, 322 rushing yards and 23 total touchdowns while contributing to Jacksonville's AFC South title and run to the conference championship game, Bortles found some new fans in the front office.

Now the Jags are fully engaged to Bortles, at least for the time being.

That's not unreasonable, effusive praise by the Jaguars executive vice president of football operations, but it is an accurate assessment.

After four seasons as a backup with the Cincinnati Bengals, McCarron will become an unrestricted free agent at 3 p.m. CST March 14, allowing him to sign with any National Football League team. "Blake has proven, with toughness and dependability, that he can be the leader this team needs going forward". Which would have paid him so much that it would have made no sense to also draft a potential franchise quarterback?

There had been plenty of speculation the Jaguars would turn to free agency or the draft to replace Bortles. The Jags sent a strong message by locking up Bortles weeks before free agency.

The Jaguars have created that flexibility with the new Bortles deal.

Regardless, he outperformed expectations when Marrone and Coughlin built the offense to pound the ball on the ground, take advantage of play-action passes and avoid shootouts with stout defense. He also threw three touchdowns compared to zero picks in three postseason starts.

Blake Bortles might have legitimately turned the corner past year. "He's the type of guy we want in our locker room and I look forward to having him back for many more years". The team could make a splash on a guy like Trey Burton, who is quickly rising after his Super Bowl win with the Eagles, or go after another intriguing prospect like Cameron Brate.

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