Come September, it’s now expected that the Jacksonville Jaguars will enter the regular season with someone not named Blake Bortles as their starting quarterback for the first time since 2014.
That position will now be filled by Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles.
When free agency officially begins at 4 p.m. ET, Foles intends to sign a four-year deal worth up to $102 million with Jacksonville per reports. The deal includes $50.125 million of guaranteed money for the former Philadelphia Eagle.
He’ll join an organization that’s posted a winning record only once (10-6 in 2017) in the last 10 regular seasons.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Monday that Bortles will likely be released by the Jags.
The #Jaguars are expected to release QB Blake Bortles when QB Nick Foles’ deal is official and signed, I’m told. Will be a few days. But Bortles will be free.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 11, 2019
What does Foles bring to Jacksonville?
Most fans and coaches around the NFL will admit that Nick Foles is a great quarterback. Had his Super Bowl-winning performance of 2017 not proved it to anyone, he did nothing but solidify his resume again last season.
With the Eagles sitting at 6-7 and set to miss the playoffs, Foles took over for Carson Wentz at quarterback for the last three regular season games. In those games, he threw for just over 960 yards and six touchdowns as his team went 3-0 to sneak into the playoffs.
It took Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints to stop the Foles bandwagon in the NFC Divisional Round.
The 30-year-old plays the position with a sense of confidence and true grit. He’ll bring a composed winning mentality to an offense that ranked 26th in yards per game last season. But while it’s a nice organizational fit, there’s no guarantee Foles immediately makes all the difference.
Philadelphia had a very dominant offensive line protecting Foles. The Jaguars, meanwhile, allowed the third most sacks (53) last season in the NFL. Foles also needs to develop a good understanding with running back Leonard Fournette if the third-year man can stay healthy.
Regardless, Foles will bring more to the table than Bortles did to the Jags’ offense.
What to do with Bortles?
Initially, the Jags’ front office expressed uncertainty about Blake Bortles’ future. General manager Dave Caldwell said he was “in the mix” before the arrival of Foles.
The impending arrival now changes the dynamic.
Cutting Bortles seems the most cost-effective option. If he’s released after June 1 the Jags can split his dead cap hit of $16.5 million between 2019 and 2020. However, one wonders if there is a possible trade destination for Bortles’ in the current climate for starting quarterbacks.
The most unlikely of outcomes would be for Bortles to remain with the Jaguars as their back-up quarterback. His contract still runs for another three years. The Jags would owe him an average of $18 million a year.
Bortles and the Jaguars once looked promising, but in the end Bortles certainly underwhelmed in his tenure in Jacksonville.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 11, 2019