Jaguars looking to draft Blake Bortles’ replacement?
The Jacksonville Jaguars have yet to exercise the fifth-year option on Blake Bortles’ contract, and they may not make a decision about it until they determine if they can draft the quarterback’s replacement later this month.
Former NFL executive Michael Lombardi, who now works for The Ringer, was asked on his podcast this week if he believes the Jaguars are still deciding whether or not to pick up Bortles’ option.
“Decide? There’s no deciding. Are you kidding me? My wife can decide that’s not going to happen,” Lombardi said, as transcribed by Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. “Blake Bortles’ parents know that’s not going to happen. Who’s going to pay him $18 million? I have a better chance of becoming [general manager] of the [L.A.] Clippers than that of happening.”
Finding a viable NFL starting quarterback is a very difficult task, and you could easily argue the Jags have yet to do it. After he had a great year statistically in 2015, Bortles took a huge step back last season. He finished with a TD-INT ratio of 23-16 and a lowly passer rating of 78.8.
With Tom Coughlin now running the football operations department in Jacksonville, Lombardi believes the Jaguars will be drafting a replacement for Bortles this year.
“Coughlin’s going to draft a quarterback,” Lombardi said. “[Bortles] doesn’t make plays down the field, he gets in the two-minute and is a disaster and his accuracy down the field is horrendous. Look, there are some times when we’re all better off saying, ‘We screwed that up. We really blew that. We have to admit we made a mistake.’ He has to be a guy they have to replace. This is the perfect draft to do it.”
The Jaguars have until May 3 to decide if they want to exercise Bortles’ option. They’re unlikely to draft a QB early, but they have expressed interest in former Pittsburgh starter Nathan Peterman, who should go somewhere in the third or fourth round.
Jacksonville coaches and executives have thrown their support behind Bortles publicly, but some recent comments made by head coach Doug Marrone indicate the 24-year-old’s job could be in legitimate danger.