The Jaguars — to borrow a term from another sport — hit a rare inside-the-park home run on Saturday night when the front office inked quarterback Blake Bortles to a relatively team-friendly extension.
The new three-year deal is worth $54 million with incentives. The deal averages $18 million per year, which is less annually than the $19 million that Bortles was set to make on the fifth-year of his rookie contract.
On top of that, the new deal freed up $9 million in salary cap space, as the Jaguars were able to lower Bortles' cap number to $10 million by prorating his signing bonus throughout the longevity of the deal.
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The Jaguars locked up a quarterback who they believe can take them deep into the playoffs and also freed up cap space to bring in additional weapons to make his job easier. It was a win-win for both sides.
In the NFL, $9 million can go a long way, especially with salary cap gurus like John Idzik and Tim Walsh on the payroll. The Jaguars saved roughly $12.6 million over the weekend by releasing running back Chris Ivory and creatively extending Bortles, two clear no-brainer moves for the organization.
With that added salary-cap space, the Jaguars are projected to have enough firepower to bring in some legitimate veteran talent. The freed-up space from the Bortles deal could essentially lead to the additions of a starting tight end and a starting linebacker.
Also, the team now has more salary cap ammunition to re-sign internal talents like wide receivers Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee and cornerback Aaron Colvin. If the Jaguars are trying to keep the majority of their AFC Championship Game band together, they're in a very good spot to do so.
Great front offices find ways to keep their strong internal talent as long as possible. The Jaguars will now be given that opportunity — if they wish — following the Bortles extension.
Along with the salary cap flexibility, the Jaguars now have continuity at the quarterback position at a relatively cheap price for at least the next two seasons.
The Jaguars know what they have in Bortles. They know his strengths, his weaknesses and how he fits into their offensive scheme.
There are limited risks from financial and on-the-field standpoints.
Since Bortles is making relatively limited starter money, the Jaguars have also freed themselves up to draft his potential successor/backup with limited financial damage.
If Bortles struggles, the Jaguars — if they were to target a young quarterback in any round of the draft — would have a fallback plan that wouldn't severely damage continuity or the locker room.
Similarly, if the hypothetical rookie quarterback needs time to develop, the team has an experienced veteran to play in his place.
Succession plans are essential in the NFL and the Jaguars have the cap flexibility to weather most — if not any — storms.
With how the contract is structured, the Jaguars would be protected if they decided to move on from Bortles before the length of the deal was completed. They would also be protected if Bortles continues to ascend in the offense, as he is under their control until 2020.
Drafting a potential successor would have limited financial repercussions, even if Bortles elevates his play and keeps that younger player on the bench.
Good franchises build to win and prepare for the worse. The Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles are a good example of those practices. The quarterback position is the most important in the league and having flexibility at the position when you don't have a Top 5-10 passer is essential.
The Jaguars have created that flexibility with the new Bortles deal.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
PHOTOS: A recap of Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' 2017 season
HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 10: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars throws a pass as Joel Heath #93 of the Houston Texans applies pressure in the second quarter at NRG Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks to pass in front of Derrick Morgan #91 of the Tennessee Titans during the first half of their game at EverBank Field on September 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 17: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks to pass the football in front of Kareem Jackson #25 of the Houston Texans during the first half of their game at EverBank Field on December 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 08: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars drops back to pass in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 07: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs with the football in the second half of the AFC Wild Card Round game against the Buffalo Bills at EverBank Field on January 7, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 22: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars scrambles against the Indianapolis Colts during the third quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs with the football in the second half of their game against the Los Angeles Chargers at EverBank Field on November 12, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 05: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars waits in the bench area prior to the start of their game against the Cincinnati Bengals at EverBank Field on November 5, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 03: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs with the football in the first half of their game against the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field on December 3, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 19: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks to throw a pass in the first half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 19, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 26: Quarterback Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars throws a pass during the first half of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Jaguars 27-24. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 10: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars calls a play at the line of scrimmage during the second half of their game against the Seattle Seahawks at EverBank Field on December 10, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 24: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars scrambles with the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars carries the ball in the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)