Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Blake Bortles' Preference? Stay with the Jaguars

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Blake Bortles' Preference? Stay with the Jaguars

Article excerpt

Byline:

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles presented his final argument Sunday to remain the starter heading into the 2018 season.

Facing the NFL's bestever passer (New England's Tom Brady) on his home field (Gillette Stadium) and as the decided underdog (7 1/2 points) in the AFC Championship Game, Bortles helped stake the Jaguars to leads of 143 and 2010 before a Bradyfueled comeback propelled the Patriots to a 2420 win.

Armed with a 19game sample size of Bortles' work, it will be up to the Jaguars' decision makers, led by front office chief Tom Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell, to ascertain if No. 5 should remain No. 1 on the quarterback depth chart.

Last May, the Jaguars picked up Bortles' 2018 contract option (worth an estimated $19 million). It becomes guaranteed if Bortles is on the roster in midMarch.

"I've enjoyed my four years in Jacksonville and I would love to play here for as long as they let me," Bortles said Monday afternoon after the Jaguars' final team meeting. "What they decide and all of the decisions they make are outside of my control.

"I would be thrilled to be able to stay here and play here. Hopefully that can happen."

In the regular season, Bortles improved his record (313 to 106), his completion percentage (58.4 to 60.2) and his passer rating (78.8 to 84.7).

In the playoffs, Bortles completed 57.1 percent of his passes, had three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 91.0 rating.

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The Jaguars have three options: Walk away from the option and allow Bortles to become a free agent; sign him to a longterm contract; or let him play out the option.

It is entirely possible the Jaguars canvas trade (Kansas City's Alex Smith and the New York Giants' Eli Manning) and free agent (Washington's Kirk Cousins and Minnesota's Case Keenum and Sam Bradford) possibilities before deciding the best option is already in their building. …

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