A lot of the Jacksonville Jaguars 2017 season is going to rely on the play of fourth-year quarterback Blake Bortles. That's no secret to anyone who has watched the NFL for any length of time, it's pretty clear in the modern game you need at the very least an efficient quarterback to win football games. The future of Bortles as the Jaguars quarterback is very much in doubt, especially with the reports of the Jaguars sniffing around quarterbacks in the 2017 NFL Draft, but in a recent post by Pro Football Focus they had a pretty radical idea for the Jaguars and Bortles.
3. Jaguars trade Blake Bortles to the Cardinals their first-round pick
After taking a step forward in 2015, Bortles took about 10 backward in 2016. While he was sacked 33 percent less last season than he was the year prior, he still threw 16 picks and improved his completion percentage a whopping 0.3 percent to 58.9. While Jacksonville has made strides on defense, Bortles is at this stage holding the offense back, and it’s tough to envision things getting better for him with the Jaguars this year considering the brand new coaching staff and system.
Arizona made it all the way to the NFC championship game in 2015, but missed the playoffs completely in 2016, as aging QB Carson Palmer looked broken. Finding a QB of the future should be priority No. 1 for them this year, and as poorly as Bortles played down the stretch last season, a restart with a better roster could help him realize his potential.
Make no mistake about it – this would be a huge risk on the part of both teams. Jacksonville would be left with Chad Henne and likely a rookie being forced to start on day one, while the Cardinals would be banking on the opposite, the idea that this draft class does not offer a viable solution ready to step in immediately. However, considering the sense of urgency in the desert with a roster with aging players in critical roles, and the year or so of house money for the new staff in Jacksonville, this deal could be positive for both sides.
I'm not really I understand how the logic PFF uses makes "sense for both sides" in the scenario and it seems there are some incorrect assumptions they're make. While yes, the Jaguars have a relatively new coaching staff, Bortles has a familiarity with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and Hackett I'm sure has an idea on how to get the best out of Bortles. Plus, the contention is the quarterback class is weak and the only other viable option on the Jaguars roster is Chad Henne who is... not good! Not to mention that the Jaguars are under pressure to win now, so if they're not using this new pick they're getting on a rookie who can start right away, they're not getting that "house money" that is automatically assumed with a brand new coaching staff. This is a new coaching staff-adjace. It is but it isn't. The leash this time around doesn't appear to be that long.
The link to the Cardinals makes sense, given that it was reported the organization was high on Bortles prior to the 2014 NFL Draft and it's likely they would have picked him had he made it to their pick. Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians remarked the only franchise quarterback he saw in the draft was Bortles, which shouldn't be too much of a surprise given Arians work with Ben Roethlisberger, someone that Bortles was compared to in the pre-draft process.
Now, I don't know who's hand I'd need to bite off for a trade involving a first round pick for Bortles to happen, but it's very unlikely. The Cardinals will need to address their quarterback situation at some point, with Carson Palmer on the back end of his career and struggling to stay healthy, but would they really give up that much for a player like Bortles? Sure, he's flashed ability, but he's not consistent at all and more often than not has come up short with the game on the line.
I don't mean to completely bury Bortles, as I do think he has the ability to be a good quarterback, but think about it from an outside perspective. Would you give up a first round pick for Bortles? I wouldn't.