Jaguars pickup quarterback Blake Bortles' fifth-year contract option

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jaguars control quarterback Blake Bortles' rights for the next two seasons.

The team exercised its right to the quarterback's fifth-year contract option on Monday.

Jacksonville had until Wednesday to exercise the option, which is built into the contracts of first-round picks.

The fifth year is only guaranteed for injury, so the Jaguars can release Bortles before the start of the next league year without penalty if he is healthy.

The option gives the team insurance in case Bortles has a break out year this season.

Had the Jaguars decided to decline the option, Bortles would have become a free agent after this campaign.

Bortles' salary will not be set until the start of the 2018 league year.

"This is a smart business decision for the team for several reasons," Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin said. "It makes sense for us going forward and it's good for Blake and for the Jaguars."

In three seasons, Bortles has thrown for 11,241 passing yards, 69 touchdowns and 51 interceptions.

His yardage and touchdown numbers look very good on paper, but Bortles has been among the league leaders in interceptions during his time in Jacksonville.

Bortles has completed just 58.8% of his passes. He has a 79.8 career passer rating.

The Jacksonville quarterback also has thrown 11 interceptions that have been returned for touchdowns.

The Jaguars have only won 11 games with Bortles, so the exercising of the option was never a sure thing. However, the team declined to select a quarterback in this past weekend's NFL Draft.

Bortles leads a quarterback group that features veteran Chad Henne and former sixth round pick Brandon Allen.

The Jaguars invested heavily on the offensive side of the ball during the draft to help Bortles.

The team chose LSU running back Leonard Fournette with the fourth overall pick and then selected Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson with the 35th overall pick.

The Jaguars were among the worst teams in the league when it came to running the football last season. The one-dimensional offense forced the Jaguars to pass more than they had wanted to.

Bortles' passing mechanics regressed throughout the season, which only made matters worse. He spent the offseason in California, working with passing guru Adam Dedeaux.

The 25 year old has a new head coach in Doug Marrone and a new overall boss with Coughlin at the helm.

Coughlin declined to comment on the quarterback during his post-draft press conference on Saturday. Marrone has been a vocal supporter of Bortles since his stint as interim head coach during the final two games of last season.

General Manager Dave Caldwell drafted Bortles with the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He has remained steadfast in backing the quarterback.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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