Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

24 Feb 2018

Jaguars Extend Bortles Through 2020

Despite speculation the Jacksonville Jaguars might make a change at quarterback this offseason, the signed incumbent Blake Bortles to a contract extension that will last through 2020.

Bortles was going into the last year of his contract and due $19 million in 2018. Terms of the new deal were not disclosed, but in all likelihood it will guarantee Bortles more money over the time of the deal while lowering his cap hit this season.

The third overall pick of the 2014 draft, Bortles struggled early in his career, but had his best season in 2017. He finished 15th in DYAR and 16th in DVOA, his first year in the top 20 in either category. And the Jaguars won ten games in the regular season and two more in the playoffs.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 24 Feb 2018

26 comments, Last at 27 Feb 2018, 1:43pm by Pat


by JustAnotherFalc... :: Sat, 02/24/2018 - 8:26pm

And there was much rejoicing...

from the fans of 31 other NFL teams, and possibly a couple of CFL and Arena League teams.

by Sixknots :: Sat, 02/24/2018 - 9:08pm

Ya know...we really need a FO Internet Snarc Hall of Fame thread. "Bortleing" and "Going full Bortles" would deserve top entries. There must be others of deserving enshrinement.

Will's "the Ponderes One" comes to mind on short notice. (did I spell that correctly?)

by Will Allen :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 3:27pm




synonyms:clumsy, heavy, awkward, lumbering, slow, 
cumbersome, ungainly, graceless, uncoordinated,

by Sixknots :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 11:37pm

Well, uh Will...you got that right. Especially the last adjective, "blundering".

by Cythammer :: Sat, 02/24/2018 - 9:38pm

Bortles was decent last year, even without a real receiving corps, so I think this might be not as bad as it initially seems. Of course, he was much worse in his previous seasons, but considering how young he still is it's quite possible that the better results we saw last year was a result of genuine improvement rather than simple random variation.

This deal still doesn't make much sense to me though.

by Shylo :: Sat, 02/24/2018 - 11:26pm

I was afraid they might get a real quarterback.

by MarkV :: Sat, 02/24/2018 - 11:59pm

This is an extremely good move for Jax, assuming the Shefter Numbers are accurate.

They were likely on the hook for 19M next year no matter what. The new deal guarantees 26.5M, which is 7.5M guaranteed over the functionally guaranteed 19M. So they are getting two extra years of him for a cap hit of 7.5 M if they decide to cut bait at any point. And the 35 Million they will pay for that 2 years is ridiculously low, putting him around 17-18th in the NFL. (ahead of only backups, rookie contract players, and Andy Dalton). If he is able to reproduce this years production, the value is significant for two years. If he regresses, the price to cut him is pretty small.

Note: all this assumes a somewhat reasonable contract - if the guarantees are all injury guarantees its even better for JAX. If its all signing bonus and his P5 salary is high this year it would be VERY stupid of JAX.

by ArcLight :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 6:42pm

I sort of agree with you.
I think its a reasonable move by Jacksonville, but not a great move.

I was against it at first, but its essentially paying 7.5MM for a team option at a reasonable price for an additional 2 years. And its possible he improves under the current coaches. He had a better year than he's had in the past, so maybe they see something.

I'd still look for a better QB.

by Independent George :: Mon, 02/26/2018 - 2:05pm

On the face of it, the contract seems to be about giving them the flexibility to look for a new QB while keeping Bortles under contract for a reasonable, non-Garoppolo amount. If Bortles continues to improve, then they the Jags got a good deal; if he stagnates, they've overpaid slightly. If he tanks, then they can cut him without going into cap hell.

From Bortles side, he gets a bit more guaranteed money and either scores a huge contract in 2020, or he starts gaining consistent employment as a backup QB while his pension vests.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 7:35am

It's amazing what a team winning will do for a quarterback's worth.

Unless the Jags have plans to draft someone, I think they regret this decision in the longterm. This offseason has a glut of better QBs coming onto the market and that just doesn't usually happen. However cap/team-friendly Bortles deal is, they're missing a great opportunity to find someone better.

by bravehoptoad :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 10:48am

It's amazing what a team winning will do for a quarterback's worth.

You mean, sink it towards the bottom of the pile of league starters?

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 5:13pm

Do you think that if the Jags had continued with their run of losing seasons they'd have given him this extension?

by billprudden :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 10:22am

If, if, if you didn't value physically protecting your QB, and were willing to allow him to take a bunch of hits the next few years, based on what we saw in January might a revised offensive philosophy, one which turns BB into a Cam Newton / Tim Tebow hybrid, maximize his value?

Just a thought.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 1:09pm


*more giggling*

Brief pause . . .

*exponentially more giggling*

by Kevin from Philly :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 4:13pm

This begs the question- WTF???

by Dave Bernreuther :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 4:42pm

They're basically staying on a 16 in blackjack. They're not likely to win, but they might get lucky. At 19m for the option and 18/year and some freedom on a short term deal, it makes sense for them if they happen to luck into someone in the draft, and they don't risk swinging and missing in the market this year. Which, for all the hype about the volume of QBs, still mostly just features mediocre players.

Ultimately, they're still stuck with a QB as their obvious weak link. But the Giants won a Super Bowl with that being the case, and with better coaching they'd have knocked off New England last month too. So there's "hope" (although I still feel like there's also a plenty good chance they miss the playoffs again next year too), everyone saves face, and the downside isn't that great.

Good for Bortles, though, He's bad, and he just got a second contract in the NFL.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 6:11pm

I don't see repeating the Eli Manning situation as a good thing for the Jaguars.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 6:11pm

I don't see repeating the Eli Manning situation as a good thing for the Jaguars.

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 8:49pm

But repeating that comment was exactly right

by billprudden :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 7:04pm

I'd argue that if you have a chance for a great defense, even for a just like a 3 year window b/c of injuries and head cases and such, you should go high-risk / high-return on the other side of the ball. If you bomb out, the D'll drag you to 8 wins anyway, but if you hit it, ring(s) are possible.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 02/26/2018 - 12:20pm

Absolutely; with competent and consistent QB play, Jacksonville's in the Super Bowl this past year. When your own coach is so terrified of a QB screwing up they basically give up on playing offense in the second half of the AFC Championship game, how do you even vaguely rationalize this extension? I mean, even if you believe Bortles' improvement last year to at least "decent" is something he's going to repeat in the future, the team showed in its last game it has zero confidence in him as their QB . . . so you sign him to an extension?

Getting Cousins would be tough from a cap standpoint (not sure how they could restructure things, but I know Jacksonville doesn't have huge amounts of cap space), but, with the kind of performance Cousins had with good WRs (DSJ and Pierre Garcon) and extrapolating to having Robinson, Hurns, and Lee plus Fournette and the young guys who looked good last year, I'd think he instantly makes Jacksonville a legitimate contender.

Bortles? You didn't trust him in the AFCCG, now the team is going to get behind him for all next year?

by Pat :: Mon, 02/26/2018 - 1:40pm

I think the comparison you're looking for there is Joe Flacco, not Eli Manning. Flacco's peak year was 2011, practically identical to Bortles's 2017: 0% DVOA/400 DYAR or so. Manning in the late 2000s/early 2010s was more of a 10% DVOA/800 DYAR or so: about twice the production, typically. Yes, his 2007 Super Bowl year was bad, but as was noted that year, Manning's postseason performance was *way* above his regular season, and it continued into the next year.

Manning was more of a conundrum - Flacco was obviously a mistake, and at least Bortles's contract is way less of a franchise-destroyer than Flacco's is.

by Cythammer :: Mon, 02/26/2018 - 6:30pm

Eh? Flacco's peak year was definitely not at all 2011. In 2014, for example, Flacco had 987 DYAR and a DVOA of 15.5% (8th best in both categories), obviously way above the numbers you've cited for 2011. Not going to bother to look through each of his seasons, but I'm pretty sure he's had a number of other years that were also better than those 2011 statistics.

by Pat :: Tue, 02/27/2018 - 1:43pm

Bleh, clarifying: I meant Flacco's *Super Bowl year*, not his peak year. So that obviously should've said 2012. Before his contract in 2012, he was averaging around ~500 DYAR/year or so.

But to be fair, if you completely compare Manning/Flacco/Bortles up to their first extension, both Manning and Flacco were around ~500 DYAR/year, and obviously Bortles was much less (~150 DYAR/year).

Post-extension (comparing the next 6 years), obviously Manning (~600 DYAR/year) was much more successful than Flacco (~100 DYAR/year).

So it's more like the Jaguars are taking a gamble on the *post-extension* Flacco, which is... kinda nuts.

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 8:49pm

I was hoping Jax would be a dark horse candidate for Cousins. I think Dilfer and Flacco would be better comps than Eli - who isn't a bad QB just not a great one - should Bortles win a SB. Or Grossman should he lose one. Wouldn't be surprised to see Jax use a third on someone like Falk.

by Sixknots :: Sun, 02/25/2018 - 11:21pm

"Wouldn't be surprised to see Jax use a third on someone like Falk." Or NE next up.