Blake Bortles, Rams Agree to 1-Year Contract After 5 Seasons with Jaguars

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2019

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 30:  Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars warms up before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

Blake Bortles is off to the West Coast.

The Los Angeles Rams announced Monday they signed the former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback to a one-year contract. Bortles will serve as Jared Goff's backup.

Jeff Darlington of ESPN first reported Bortles was "finalizing" the deal after the Jaguars released him in the wake of the Nick Foles signing.

The Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos were interested in Bortles as well, according to Michael Silver of the NFL Network. 

In Los Angeles, Bortles will be adjusting to life behind Goff, the team's franchise quarterback who has shown significant improvement under head coach Sean McVay. For Bortles, working with the team will be an opportunity to improve and show off those improvements in the preseason, where he could catch the eyes of other franchises.

Bortles spoke about the importance of joining McVay's Rams, per Kevin Patra of NFL.com:

"I mean, I think as a quarterback, there's not really anybody else you'd rather be around if you had your pick. What he's done, the people that have been taken out of here for head coaching jobs, and OC jobs in other places I think is a testament to how good he is at what he does, how good of a teacher and a coach he is. And you watch them play, and the effort and intensity that they play at speaks to the type of head coach he is and how he gets the guys going."

The 26-year-old was the No. 3 overall pick by the Jags in the 2014 NFL draft and looked like he might live up to that billing in his second season, throwing for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns.

However, there were warning signs that despite those gaudy numbers, Bortles wasn't going to be a great quarterback, namely his 18 interceptions and 58.6 completion percentage that season.

And indeed, he struggled from there, never eclipsing 4,000 passing yards in a season while throwing just 57 touchdown passes to 40 interceptions over the next three campaigns. And while the Jaguars made a run to the AFC Championship Game in the 2017 season, they limped to a 5-11 record last year.

Despite his struggles, the Jaguars committed to him to the tune of a three-year, $54 million extension in Feb. 2018. He lasted just one year into that extension. 

The University of Central Florida product struggles with accuracy (59.3 career completion percentage) and isn't an effective downfield passer (6.7 yards per attempt for his career). While he has impressive athleticism and is at his best extending plays and escaping pressure with his legs, his struggles in the pocket limited Jacksonville's upside. 

That prompted the team to sign Foles to a four-year, $88 million deal, and in the process ended the Bortles era. 

For the Rams, Bortles is being brought aboard as a backup, likely his future role in the NFL after his struggles with the Jaguars. In that role, he represents solid value given his experience. As a starter, he was a liability. It was time for a change, and this should be a solid one for both sides.

Take major steps in Los Angeles, and Bortles could be an option for teams looking for veteran starters at quarterback down the road. He may be Goff's backup, but Bortles will still be working to eventually return to starting status elsewhere.

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