In a move that has been expected ever since the season ended, the Jaguars have finally moved on from Blake Bortles. On Wednesday, the team announced that they’ve cut their former first-round pick, who never developed into the quarterback they so desperately wanted him to become during his five-year run as the team’s starter.
It’s finally official:
That playoff run marked the only success Bortles found in Jacksonville. In his five-year career, he posted a 24-49 record as a starting quarterback, completing 59.3 percent of his passes, averaging 6.7 yards per attempt, throwing 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions, and posting an 80.6 passer rating. Since he entered the league, no quarterback has thrown more interceptions or pick-sixes than him. While there’s no doubt that other factors outside of the quarterback position have contributed to the Jaguars’ lack of success in recent years, there’s also no doubt that Bortles fell remarkably short of meeting expectations after becoming the third-overall pick in 2014.
The Jaguars foolishly gave him an extension a year ago, hoping that his playoff performances against the Steelers and Patriots were the beginning of his ascent, but Bortles proceeded to play like the quarterback he’s almost always been during his career. At one point last season, And the Jaguars, who entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations, stumbled their way to a 5-11 finish.
Now, the Jaguars are hoping that Foles is the right quarterback to get them back to the playoffs. But there’s an argument to be made that the Jaguars are using the same logic that got them into trouble with Bortles.
The Jaguars struck with Bortles all because of one hot stretch late during the 2017 season. They’ve now replaced him with a quarterback who only commanded a big contract in free agency because he’s capable of piecing together the hottest of hot streaks, like he did when he led the Eagles to a championship two seasons ago and to the playoffs this past season in relief of Carson Wentz. But in Foles’ career, he’s averaged 7.1 yards per attempt and accumulated an 88.5 passer rating. His supporting cast in Jacksonville won’t be nearly as good as the supporting cast he worked with in Philadelphia.
The Jaguars had to move on from Bortles. That much was clear. But they didn’t have to correct that mistake by giving Foles a bigger contract than he deserved. Foles is an upgrade to Bortles, but he might not be a big enough upgrade to take the Jaguars where they want to go.