Jacksonville Jaguars made three mistakes with QB Blake Bortles
The Jacksonville Jaguars will probably enjoy stability at quarterback for the foreseeable future due to the presence of Trevor Lawrence. However, they made several attempts before they were able to get the position right. Back in 2014, they thought they had found the long-term answer when they selected Blake Bortles third overall. But looking back, that was one of three big mistakes the Jags made that set them back for several years.
Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report recently put together a list of NFL players that got paid too soon and to nobody’s surprise, Bortles popped up. Knox argues that the UCF product wasn’t particularly great early in his career but his uptick in production during the 2017 season helped him secure a contract the following year.
"The following offseason, Jacksonville handed Bortles a three-year, $54 million extension. The Jags likely believed Bortles had finally turned the corner and may have hoped to avoid an even bigger contract if he played even better or took Jacksonville to the Super Bowl in 2018.Bortles didn’t play better. He went 3-9, was benched in favor of Cody Kessler and was released after the season. Fortunately for Jacksonville, Bortles’ contract only included $26.5 million in guarantees, a far cry from the $160 million on Murray’s contract. Still the moral of the story is that a team should be 100 percent certain of what it has in its quarterback before handing out more money than it has to."
Bortles hasn’t had a starting job since being released from the Jaguars and has spent time with the Los Angeles Rams, the Denver Broncos, the Green Bay Packers, and the New Orleans Saints over the last four years.
The Jaguars seriously misjudged Blake Bortle’s QB skills
Hindsight is 20/20 but it never truly felt like Blake Bortles was the answer at quarterback for the Jaguars. He was a Fantasy Football darling in 2015 and 2016 but most of his production in those years came when the game was either decided or out of reach. Nevertheless, the organization felt he was good enough to carry, so they rewarded him with a three-year $54 million contract even though he didn’t deserve it. But that wasn’t the first mistake Jacksonville made.
Back in 2014, the Jaguars had the chance to draft edge rusher Khalil Mack, wide receiver Mike Evans, or defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Sure, quarterback was a need that year but they could have waited until the second round to draft Derek Carr. Again, we have the benefit of hindsight but there was more than one path the Jags could have taken that year and most of them would have been better than taking Bortles with the No. 3 pick.
Also, the Jaguars blindly believed Bortles was their man. They gave him a three-year deal in 2018 and that same year, they could have landed Lamar Jackson with the 29th overall pick instead of Taven Bryan. Looking back, they didn’t have a plan in case Bortles flopped, which turned out to be the outcome.
It’s good to know the Jaguars have a promising quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, who is poised to have a breakout season in 2022. However, Blake Bortles is a reminder that the road to get where they are no wasn’t pretty.