Jets Could Convince Recently Retired First Round QB to Return in 2023

Blake Bortles, Rams

Getty Former Los Angeles Rams quarterback Blake Bortles loosening up ahead of an NFL game.

The New York Jets could go all out to bring in a new quarterback this offseason.

While all of the talk is about who will become the new star franchise quarterback for the Jets, there hasn’t been much chatter on who the backup will be.

One name that could make sense is recently retired first-round quarterback Blake Bortles.

Blake Bortles to the Jets Makes a Ton of Sense

In October of 2022, Bortles quietly announced his retirement from the NFL during a podcast appearance on Pardon My Take.

The former UCF product originally joined the league as the No. 3 overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.

Bortles spent the first five years of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars which was highlighted by a run to the AFC Championship game in 2017.

The 30-year-old who will turn 31 ahead of the 2023 season delivered solid production during his time in Jacksonville:

  • 17,649 passing yards
  • 111 total touchdowns

Who was his quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in four of his five seasons with the Jaguars you ask? That would be new Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

After Bortles’ time with the Jaguars came to an end he bounced around the league as a backup quarterback for four different NFL organizations before ultimately deciding to hang up his cleats in 2022.

The Jets Need a Guy Like Blake Bortles at QB2

If the Jets land a star quarterback like so many analysts and pundits are predicting, they will have to do some cap gymnastics.

Per Over The Cap, the Jets are projected to be $2 million and change over. That is before factoring in a new big-money quarterback deal.

Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic recently said that it “seems unlikely” that Mike White would return to the Jets if they “add an expensive veteran quarterback.”

With how White performed during his opportunities in 2022 he could still command a significant salary for backup quarterbacks and may want a change of scenery that affords him a better opportunity at playing time.

That would leave the Jets potentially hanging in the wind with a void at QB2.

The only two quarterbacks under contract for the team are Zach Wilson and Chris Streveler. Streveler is likely a practice squad guy and the Jets seem committed to developing Wilson behind the scenes.

This is where Blake Bortles could enter the conversation.

Bortles has scheme familiarity with Hackett based on their time together both in Jacksonville and in Green Bay with the Packers.

He would come incredibly cheap. Based on his contract history which is available via Spotrac, Bortles made on average $1.02 million per season as a backup quarterback from 2019 through 2022 (excluding practice squad contracts).

That figure would make him the 73rd highest-paid quarterback in football in 2023, per Over The Cap.

At the very least it would be worth a call by the Jets to kick the tires on a recently retired Bortles. It would be a creative way to fill the void at backup quarterback on an incredibly cheap deal with someone who already knows the new scheme.

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