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The play of Blake Bortles has created interesting dynamic for Jacksonville

Ari Russell

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(USA Today - Kim Klement)

I’m old enough to remember when the Jacksonville Jaguars benched Blake Bortles during the pre season in favor of Chad Henne, only to bring him back after Henne proved dreadful in his performance. Now we are in the third week in December and the rub around Blake Bortles couldn’t be any more opposite now than it was then. The play of Bortles has created quite an interesting dynamic for the future of the Jags and their current starting QB.

Even during the season it looked like the Jags were going to have to deal with Bortles to game manage as the defense carried this team to victory. However now they have locked in the playoffs and Bortles game has gone to a whole new level, they are going to have to take a totally different approach moving forward if his play continues.

During this three game win streak Bortles is completing 71.4 of his passes has thrown for 904 yards 7 TDs and O INTs. In December he leads all NFL passers in passing rating. All of a sudden what once even as recently as six weeks ago seemed like a potential lame duck QB situation could turn into something else.

For Jacksonville they have quite the leverage at this point. The team has an option for 2018 that would keep Bortles for around $19 million for that one season. Now at this point this looks like the best move for the franchise considering he is just showing that promise on a consistent level really for the first time since they drafted him.

With that said, let’s say the Jags make a deep playoff run and Bortles continues to play well where it becomes clear he’s the leader of this team. The Jags may want to sign Bortles to a long term extension.

Of course the team could let Bortles test the free agent market and not pick up the 2018 option, which would seem the less likely scenario.

Either way as it stands right now the play of Bortles is good news for the Jags franchise. The biggest question mark heading into the season is really starting to look like one of the more solid certainties. The play of a young receiving corps in the absence of the veterans has been a great sign. 

Don’t forget they have a rookie star RB who will be in his rookie contract for the next several years and they have had great production from the free agents they picked up who they have locked up for the next few years. The franchise now looks really smart having that 2018 option for Bortles.

What a difference a year makes. This franchise was an absolute mess a year ago a laughing stock. Now they are perhaps the best leveraged team in the league with the veterans locked into strong contracts and young players still on smaller contracts. This is how franchises sustain longer success. The Jaguars had by far the best offseason of any team in the NFL. Though this is going to be a quiet one for them. They have set themselves up nicely for years to come. This is quite a story.

 

Born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., Ari Russell watched the rise of the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes and knew that he had to be part of the “U” someday. After graduating from Coral Gables, Ari rose through the ranks of the former XM Satellite Radio and then Sirius/XM as college football executive producer. He later spent 2 seasons as the publisher of the website “Beyond U Sports” focusing on major college football/basketball. Ari brings a great perspective on everything Miami, including the Dolphins to F.F.I.

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