Jaguars Reportedly Exploring Free Agent QBs, Severing Blake Bortles Contract

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2018

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21:  Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars reacts in the fourth quarter during the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars are reportedly exploring avenues to upgrade at quarterback in advance of free agency.

According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, Jacksonville's front office has been "actively" searching for Blake Bortles' replacement and that process "likely will continue—if not accelerate—next week at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis."

The Jaguars previously exercised Bortles' $19 million team option for the 2018 season, but some nifty maneuvering could allow them to avoid that payment if they can identify a signal-caller in short order. 

As Florio previously wrote, Jacksonville can get out of the final year of Bortles' contract if he's cut before the new league year begins on March 14. If he's still on the roster past that date, the $19 million will become fully guaranteed. However, releasing the quarterback is only possible if Bortles—who had wrist surgery after the season—can pass a physical before March 14.

However, that move is only likely to be made if the Jaguars can reach an agreement in principle with a free-agent quarterback during the league's two-day negotiating window that opens March 12. 

It's unclear which quarterbacks have caught the Jaguars' attention, but Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford will all be searching for starting gigs this spring. 

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