Jacksonville Jaguars can and should still draft a quarterback this year after giving Blake Bortles an extension

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Blake Bortles
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Blake Bortles /

The Jacksonville Jaguars committed themselves to at least one, probably two, more years of Blake Bortles. They still need to take a QB in this year’s draft.

In a somewhat shocking move, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed quarterback Blake Bortles to a three-year, $54 million contract extension over the weekend that makes him the 19th highest paid QB in terms of guaranteed money. That ranking will continue to change as other free agent passers hit the market.

The structure of the contract is important, but at a first glance it appears the Jaguars are linked to Bortles in 2018 and probably 2019. Anything beyond 2019 will likely be determined by how Bortles plays this upcoming season.

Opinions are as varied as you would expect, but you can’t really fault the Jaguars for wanting continuity considering they were one quarter away (or a few blown calls away) from the Super Bowl with Blake Bortles. He showed he’s good enough to get this team to a Super Bowl.

That being said, the Jaguars absolutely have to draft a quarterback this year.

In his terrific “Twenty-Six Things” column, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union made numerous cogent observations about the deal, but one is particularly relevant to this discussion.

"24. Bortles is in the fold, but that should not change the Jaguars’ draft-a-quarterback-mindset. It should not be at No. 29 – they need to get a player (receiver/tight end/offensive lineman) who can help right away. But in rounds 2-4, they should zero in on a passer."

I agree on the overall sentiment that the Jaguars still need to draft a quarterback, but I disagree about the caveat that it shouldn’t be in the first round.

Yes, ideally the Jaguars would be able to add a difference maker at 29 and then find a developmental passer later on, but there’s no reason to pass on a Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph at 29 if you think they can be franchise quarterbacks. Or, if in an Aaron Rodgers-esque fall, someone like Baker Mayfield tumbles to the end of the first round, the Jaguars should absolutely take a chance.

Obviously the needs at 29 will be dictated by what the Jaguars do in free agency, but QB should still be in play there.