Blake Bortles to return to Jaguars in 2018

AFC South, Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL Offseason

After leading the Jacksonville Jaguars to the AFC Championship, quarterback Blake Bortles is expected to return to the team for his fifth season in 2018.

Fact. Blake Bortles just had surgery on his wrist this NFL offseason. Second fact. He will reportedly be back with the team he quarterbacks in North Florida in the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018. Bortles is coming off one of his better NFL seasons. It was a year to remember for Duval County, as Bortles and the #Sacksonville defense led the Jaguars to the 2017 AFC Championship Game.

While Bortles has had limitations as an NFL passer out of UCF in his first four years in the league, the Jaguars like what they saw out of him this past year. He will be back with the team for a fifth NFL season in 2018.

Though some argue that Jacksonville is a quarterback away from winning a Super Bowl, the Jaguars were technically one quarter away from getting there this past season with Bortles at quarterback. Bortles is 2-1 as a starter in AFC playoff games, just another fact for you in case you needed it.

Unlike in recent years, Jacksonville isn’t swimming in cash heading into NFL free agency. According to Spotrac, the Jaguars have the 19th most available cap space for 2018 at $25,092,064. Simply put, Jacksonville would have to cut a lot of excellent players to make sure they could win the Kirk Cousins free agency sweepstakes or something.

2017 was an important year in Bortles’ development. He has grown as a passer in offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s system. Bortles took well to head coach Doug Marrone’s coaching. Yes, it does help to have an underrated offensive line and Leonard Fournette to hand the ball off to, not to mention the #Sacksonville defense.

Overall, Bortles went 10-6 as the Jaguars starter last regular season. He completed 60.2 percent of his passes for 3,687 yards, 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. That earned him a quarterback rating of 84.7, while he averaged 7.0 yards per attempt.

No, those numbers aren’t close to being elite, but Jacksonville seems to be totally on board with paying Bortles his lofty fifth-year option. Bortles completed his four-year, $20,654,810 rookie contract in 2017. He is slated to make $19,053,000 in salary in 2018.

Sure, that might be a lot of coin for a so-so starting NFL quarterback. However, it does seem that the Jaguars want to keep a good thing going with Bortles as their quarterback. Continued growth in Hackett’s offense and faith from Marrone should give Bortles all the confidence in the world heading into a contract year. Fact. We’ve never seen Bortles in a contract year. It could be the best thing ever, or possibly terrible. Exciting times!

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