Just one year after reaching the AFC title game, the Jaguars’ quarterback situation has become a black hole.
Hopefully, Jacksonville Jaguars fans enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame last season.
They had one glorious season in which they used shutdown defense and a powerful running game to reach the AFC Championship Game, coming just a few minutes short of reaching the Super Bowl. It also helped that, while he was by no means a Pro Bowler, quarterback Blake Bortles played just well enough for the Jags to get by with him.
One season later, the Jaguars are 3-8, Bortles has been benched for backup Cody Kessler because he’s been playing so poorly, and Jacksonville’s quarterback situation is now surrounded by nothing but uncertainty.
“I put myself in this situation and I didn’t play good enough,” Bortles said, via ESPN.com. “Didn’t win football games. Couldn’t find a way to get it done. And when that happens, it’s a business and everybody understands that. I don’t think there’s anything personal involved. As a quarterback, I think you have one job and that’s to win a football game. And if you don’t do that, your time’s probably limited.”
Unfortunately for Bortles, his time as Jacksonville’s franchise quarterback is likely over for good. Even more unfortunately for the Jaguars, their quarterback situation is a dreadful nightmare.
They just signed Bortles to an extension this offseason before they realized he was going to regress. If they release him after the season, they are stuck with a pile of dead money. Additionally, they don’t have a young quarterback on the roster to groom and develop. All they have is Kessler, who went 0-8 in 2016 as the starter for the Cleveland Browns and is just there to keep the seat warm for the time being.
The Jaguars could look to the upcoming NFL Draft, but there aren’t any quarterback prospects that really jump out. They probably won’t have much luck there, unless they want to take a chance on someone they think might have potential.
Ultimately, the Jags might have no choice but to ride this Bortles train out while they wait for an opportunity to present itself.
The Bortles experiment came really close to paying off in 2017. It’s just too bad the Jaguars didn’t realize that Bortles simply had a fluke season before they extended him.