Blake Bortles Rumors: QB Not in Jaguars' Future Plans Despite Multiyear ContractDecember 7, 2018
Benching Blake Bortles may have been the first step in the Jacksonville Jaguars moving on from the former No. 3 overall pick.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported on Friday that Jacksonville is expected to part ways with Bortles this offseason after five years together:
This comes less than one year after the team handed him a three-year, $54 million extension back in February on the heels of an AFC Championship Game appearance.
Bortles has completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 2,572 yards (233.8 yards per game), 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 11 games this season. Those numbers aren't far off from last year's totals of a 60.2 percent completion rate, 230.4 yards per game, 21 touchdowns (in 16 games) and 13 interceptions.
The 6'5", 236-pound passer has essentially been the same quarterback. However, Jacksonville has gone from the No. 1 rushing attack (141.4 yards per game) in 2017 to 19th (107.3) this season. That is in large part due to the fact Leonard Fournette has played in just six games because of a hamstring injury.
Ultimately, though, Bortles has received the most scrutiny. Jacksonville benched the now-former starter in favor of ex-Cleveland Browns quarterback Cody Kessler in Week 7, and while Bortles regained his job the following week, he was once again demoted to the backup role following Week 12 in the midst of a seven-game losing streak—and he has not seen the field since.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars have gone from the doorstep of the Super Bowl to 4-9 and last place in the AFC South. All three of their remaining opponents—Washington (6-6), Miami (6-6) and Houston (9-3)—are currently .500 or better.
Rapoport noted that Thursday night's loss to the Tennessee Titans officially eliminated Jacksonville from playoff contention. That means the Jaguars will spend the final three weeks of the season determining what they have for the future while also battling for draft positioning.
Regardless of how Jacksonville addresses the quarterback position during the offseason, whether it be via free agency or the draft, it appears Bortles will not be a part of the team's future.