Saints Rumors: Former 1st-Round NFL Draft QB Blake Bortles Expected to Sign Contract

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVDecember 24, 2021

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The New Orleans Saints are reportedly set to sign Blake Bortles to serve as their backup quarterback for Monday night's Week 16 game against the Miami Dolphins.

Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune reported the signing and noted Bortles is expected to practice Friday after he finalizes his contract with the team.

The Saints are slated to start rookie Ian Book on Monday with starter Taysom Hill and backup Trevor Siemian both on the NFL's reserve/COVID-19 list.

Bortles never lived up to expectations as the third overall pick in the 2014 draft across five years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He's spent the past three years bouncing around the league in a reserve role.

The 29-year-old UCF product played two stints with the Green Bay Packers this season. He signed with the team in May but was released late in training camp. The Packers re-signed him to their practice squad in early November after Aaron Rodgers landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, but they let him go when Rodgers returned.

He's also made stops with the Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos since his time with the Jags ended following the 2018 season.

Bortles has completed 59.3 percent of his throws for 17,649 yards with 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions across 78 career games (73 starts). He's added 1,766 rushing yards and eight scores on the ground. His 80.6 career passer rating ranks 29th among active quarterbacks.

The Florida native's last regular-season appearance came in Week 13 of the 2019 season as a member of the Rams against the Arizona Cardinals. With a limited amount of time to learn the Saints' playbook, it's unlikely he'll see the field against the Dolphins unless Book suffers an injury.

Book, a fourth-round pick in the 2021 draft, is set to make his NFL debut as the fourth Saints quarterback to start a game this season.

Week 1 starter Jameis Winston suffered a torn ACL in a Week 8 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He's been followed by Siemian and Hill leading the offense.

Now Book will get thrust into the spotlight as New Orleans (7-7) tries to chase down a playoff berth in the NFC.

"One thing I know about him is that he has a strong passion for this and loves to play," Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael told reporters. "He wants to be out there, so I think those things will suit him well."

After Monday's clash with the Dolphins, the Saints finish the regular season with games against the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons. The quarterback situation for those matchups is undetermined.


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