What will the Jaguars get for the $54 million they are giving Blake Bortles?
Last week the Bortles chortles swelled again, this time after the maligned Jaguars QB recounted his interaction with Tom Coughlin a day after the AFC championship game. "I'm sitting in the locker room cleaning my stuff out and throwing stuff away and he walks by and he said, 'Hey, that was a good first half you played the other day,' and I go 'thank you,'" Blake Bortles said on the Pardon My Take podcast. "Then he turned around and walked away." Fans accustomed to hearing Bortles's name as a sitcom punchline or the subject of opponents' teasing took Coughlin's quip-and-run as something of a backhanded compliment.
Turns out, a good first half was enough for the Jags boss. Over the weekend, Jacksonville announced that it signed Bortles to a three-year, $54 million contract with $26.5 million guaranteed. Albert Breer dug deeper into the financials, while Andrew Brandt called the agreement a "low risk move."
Bortles proved to be a passable QB in 2017, and he's going to be paid like one. Ahead of free agency, he now sits in 17th in average salary among quarterbacks. Mark Sanchez was 15th in 2011 after making two AFC title games with a dominant defense. Andy Dalton was 18th in 2015 as a well-rounded Bengals team went 12-4. Bortles finished the year 12th in QBR, 15th in DVOA, 17th in Pro Football Focus' rankings, and 20th in passer rating. And that was without top receiver Allen Robinson, who went down with an ACL tear in September and who the team will now try to retain as Coughlin works through his personnel to-do list.
The Jaguars can still reasonably take a QB in the draft to develop alongside Bortles. Or they can add a couple more weapons (maybe a pass-catching tight end?), keep cap space to eventually pay their rising defensive stars, and try to repeat what was one of the most successful seasons in franchise history. Bortles doesn't have to be great for this to work out great for the Jags.
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1. The exact terms have not yet been reported, but the Rams and Chiefs have seemingly agreed to a trade that would send star corner and former first-rounder Marcus Peters to Los Angeles for draft picks. With K.C. now sending away a crucial piece on offense and defense after looking like a title contender for much of 2017, the team's leadership has "some explaining to do," Sam Mellinger writes.
2. After posting a photo of a gun and ammunition on Instagram with a caption that read, "When you're a bully victim & a coward, your options are suicide, or revenge," former offensive lineman Jonathan Martin was taken into custody and later moved to a mental health facility, according to a report.
3. On-field workouts at the NFL combine won't begin until the end of the week, but the previews are already out in force. Chris Trapasso looked at five prospects who could rise in Indy while Dane Brugler considered the snubs who just missed out on an invite.
4. Former Panthers and Bears corner Charles Tillman has found a second career as an FBI agent.
5. Jeremy Fowler broke down where the Le'Veon Bell-Steelers negotiations stand. There appears to be optimism on both sides, but underlying issues clearly remain.
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Six NFL players will be "working the cash register, making custom jerseys and tidying up the store," at the NBA retail outlet in Manhattan Tuesday.
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