The Jacksonville Jaguars have officially released quarterback Blake Bortles, the team tweeted Wednesday night. The Jaguars drafted Bortles with the third overall pick in 2014 NFL Draft. This comes in the wake of Tuesday’s signing of Nick Foles for 4 years and $88 million.
The starter since his rookie season, Bortles struggled to string together wins consistently, only leading the Jaguars to a 24-49 record in his starts. With Foles, the Super Bowl LII MVP, in the fold, this ramped up rumors of Bortles either being shipped elsewhere or getting outright released.
His best season came in 2017 when the Jaguars advanced all the way to the AFC Championship Game. He was carried by the team’s defense, though he showed flashes of brilliance such as 370-plus-yard performances against the Steelers and Patriots in the playoffs.
This past season, with Bortles at the helm the majority of the time, the Jaguars’ offense was its typically rudderless self, mustering just 302 total yards per game (No. 27 in the league) For all intents and purposes, the 2018 campaign was a disaster, as the squad followed up its AFC Championship Game appearance with an ugly 5-11 record. Bortles was shouldered with much of the blame leading to reserve Cody Kessler drawing four starts.
Let’s take a look at possible destinations for Bortles, as well as rumors surrounding the former UCF Golden Knight.
Possible Destinations for Blake Bortles
Our own Jeff Smith has been hearing possibilities that Foles’ former team in Philadelphia may come calling for Bortles as a backup to Carson Wentz.
As far as personnel goes, having an established NFL starter makes sense to put in a backup role (even if Bortles has led the NFL in turnovers since 2014). The other option in Philadelphia outside of Wentz is third-stringer Nate Sudfield. The former Indiana Hoosier has completed 20-of-25 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown in just 3 appearances.
Bortles had signed a 3-year contract worth $54 million in 2018 (meaning the Jaguars are saddled with a $16.5 million dead cap hit next fall). That figures out to $18 million a year, which the Eagles can not afford at this juncture ($15 million of cap space).
Seeing as he just got cut, was benched near the end of the season and is considered a backup option, he will certainly be taking a pay cut (thus making him a potential option for the Eagles).
The other option seems to be the Dolphins, who are desperately looking for a quarterback after losing out on both Tyrod Taylor and Teddy Bridgewater. This is what I wrote earlier about the Ryan Tannehill situation in Miami.
With former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles agreeing Monday to a reported four-year deal worth $88 million (with $50.125 million guaranteed) with the Jacksonville Jaguars, former Jaguars starter Blake Bortles could also be an option for Miami when he is eventually released.
Mike Florio of NBC Sports acknowledge the Bortles possibility but laid out a few more names.
So now what will the Dolphins do? Ryan Fitzpatrick is available, as is Trevor Siemian. Blake Bortles soon will be on the market. Josh McCown is also on the market, but he has made it clear that he plans to wait before making his next move.
Miami has more than enough cap space with a little over $29 million, according to Spotrac. Depending on if the Dolphins cut Tannehill, this could be a starting option.