In a span of a few short weeks, Blake Bortles went from a major question mark for the Jaguars to the guy who came thisclose to leading Jacksonville to its first Super Bowl.
Now the biggest offseason issue for the Jags is whether Bortles will be back with the team next season.
The former No. 1 pick does have a contract for the 2018 season, worth $19.1 million, but even that’s no sure bet.
Bortles’ deal becomes fully guaranteed on the first day of the new league year, which starts March 14.
Coming off a season with a career-low 13 interceptions and his first playoff experience, Bortles knows what he wants to happen.
“I’ve enjoyed my four years here in Jacksonville, and I would love to be able to play here for as long as they would let me,” Bortles told reporters Monday. “What they do and all the decisions that are made are kind of out of my control. I’d be thrilled to be able to stay here and play here, and hopefully that can happen.”
All season long, there were rumors that Jaguars Executive Vice President Tom Coughlin would be looking for a new quarterback in 2018.
Names like Eli Manning and Kirk Cousins were bandied about; Manning, however, is apparently staying with the Giants, and Cousins is expected to have several suitors.
Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone told reporters Monday that the team isn’t ready to make a call just yet.
“I would really have to take a step back and look at it; I don’t think I’m in the best mindset to talk about any of our players from that standpoint of what is going on,” he said. “I’m happy for all of our players, I’m happy for all their contributions and what they have done. Now it’s a matter of taking a step back and giving myself some time and looking at things as a whole.”
The Jaguars went from 3-13 in 2016 to 10-6 and a division title this year.
In his first playoff game against Buffalo, Bortles became the second quarterback in postseason history to have more yards rushing than passing.
The next week, his Jaguars shocked Pittsburgh with a 45-42 upset.
In New England on Sunday, Bortles completed 23 of 36 passes for 293 yards and one touchdown, coming up just 10 yards away from the franchise’s first trip to the Super Bowl.
Now, he wants to take the next step.
“The floor rises,” he said. “You don’t start from the bottom anymore. You have a foundation and have an understanding of what the concepts and everything are, so it kind of allows you to get more dynamic and more specific in the things we can do and the things we can start teaching earlier.”
It could be a long six weeks waiting for the deadline — both for Bortles and for Jags fans.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.