Blake Bortles might not lead the Jacksonville Jaguars’ next challenge for NFL supremacy.
The Jaguars are considering replacing their starting quarterback of the last four seasons with a free agent, whom they’d consider an upgrade, ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio reported Friday, citing an NFL source with knowledge of the team’s planning.
Potential free-agent signal callers include Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum, A.J. McCarron, Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown. Brees and Cousins have longer track records of success than Bortles, who took his team to the playoffs for the first time last season.
The coming weeks will be pivotal toward determining Bortles’ future. Teams can negotiate with and sign free agents during a two-day window starting March 12, and Jacksonville theoretically can sign a new quarterback and cut Bortles during that 48-hour period. Doing so before March 14 would remove Bortles’ $19 million salary from the Jaguars’ payroll before it becomes guaranteed on that date.
The wrist surgery Bortles underwent last month poses a major hurdle to the Jags’ plans to upgrade their QB corps. If he can’t pass a physical prior to March 14, the Jaguars can’t cut him before his contract becomes fully guaranteed.
Bortles and Jags fans will watch the rumor mill closely, as reports linking the team to certain free agents might spell the end of his time with the franchise. That is, unless his wrist throws a wrench into Jacksonville’s operation.