Bortles Gets Paid

Blake Bortles. When you think of the name, you often remember that he was the first quarterback selected in the 2014 NFL Draft with third overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in a draft class that consisted of other quarterbacks such as Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, and Derek Carr. Blake hasn’t been off to the best start in his NFL career, but 2017 showed that if the Jaguars want to continue to win their division and get to the playoffs, they will want number five under center to navigate the ship. On Saturday, the Jaguars rewarded their quarterback with a contract extension. Three years and $54 million with $26.5 million in guaranteed money.

I remember last Summer during training camp when the report from Jacksonville came out that Bortles had thrown five interceptions in practice and the minute I heard that, I immediately said to myself that this was going to be another long season for the Jaguars and Doug Marrone even opened up the competition for the starting quarterback during the preseason. After that took place, he bounced back nicely and put together the best season of his career. He completed 60.2 percent of his passes (his first time reaching the 60 percent mark), 3,687 yards passing and 21 touchdown passes with 13 interceptions and he played somewhat of a role in the Jaguars having their best season in a decade. They won their first AFC South division title since the divisions were all realigned. He plays the position with a gunslinger’s mentality similar to how Brett Favre played and for a guy his size, he’s very quick with his feet and he can move around. His peers around the league have said you have to keep him in the pocket because if you don’t, he’ll do damage with his feet and keep the play alive. He’s improved his game with looking guys off and making linebackers in pass coverage take away his first read and he just turns to his second read on the field. He’s very poised and calm in late game situations.

I know the Jaguars had one of the best, if not, the best defense in the league and they also had a nice running back to hand the ball off too in Leonard Fournette, but Blake Bortles wasn’t too bad either and you saw him really grow as a football player in the playoffs. His best performance from the postseason was in the divisional round against the second-seeded Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers defense was so focused on taking away Fournette that Blake was able to use his play-action and hit his receivers down the field for big plays and large chunks of yards and that’s the beauty of having a running back that commands so much attention. He may have not been the sharpest passer on the field, but when his team needed him to make a big pass, he always stepped up and delivered it. He helped lead the Jaguars to their first AFC Championship game appearance since 1999. I guess we can say the Jaguars will be out of the running for the services of Kirk Cousins.