The overall story for the Jacksonville Jaguars following Sunday’s 20-7 loss to the Houston Texans, the Jaguars third loss in a row, is what is going to happen at the quarterback position. Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone declined to name who was starting this week against the Philadelphia Eagles, but he did mention that the position is open.
The real question is about the long term future and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport had an interesting segment this morning about the position.
“This is one that clearly when you read the tea leaves has been a long time coming. They signed Bortles to an extension this offseason, but it really was a glorified one-year deal. Kind of a wait and see thing to lock up their guy at a price and then make a decision after this season,” Rapoport said on NFL Network early Monday Morning. “This decision is becoming easier for the Jags, Blake Bortles gets benched Cody Kessler, a backup who actually has significant starting experience – more so than a lot of backups his rookie year with the Cleveland Browns, he comes in there and really holds up pretty well. Doug Marrone has a decision there about what to do, but if you listen to the players and kind of read the tea leaves it certainly seems like they’d welcome a change at quarterback.”
It’s not shocking some of the Jaguars players would welcome a change at quarterback, simply because the offense has done absolutely nothing in four of the last five games, putting all the pressure on the defense to carry them and they just haven’t been able to, while also taking a lot of the heat for the losses.
The real meat and interesting part of what Rapoport said however was calling the three-year, $54 million contract a glorified one-year deal. I don’t disagree on the surface, because the Jaguars can release Bortles after the season for a savings of $4.5 million, while also carrying $16.5 million in dead money, but it does open up $23 million the following season.
It’s not a deal the Jaguars can’t absolutely get out of if they want to, but it’s not as simple as just a glorified one-year deal, as it will severely limit what the Jaguars can do spending wise, as they’ll likely already be looking to shed cap room. The team could also do a June 1 designation which will save $9.5 million in 2019 and push some of that dead money to the 2020 salary cap number.
It’s not a contract you absolutely can’t get out of, but it’s not one with a ton of wiggle room going forward either.