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Jaguars 2018 Position Group Breakdown: Quarterback

Zach Goodall

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Jan 21, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) reacts against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars entered the 2018 offseason with a huge question mark at the quarterback position that needed to be, and was, answered quickly: Would the team pursue an upgrade over Blake Bortles.

If you haven’t been paying attention, spoiler alert: They didn’t.

Rather than pursuing Kirk Cousins or Case Keenum in free agency, or trying to move up for a draft prospect such as Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield, the Jaguars opted to give Bortles a three year, $54 million contract extension: He will be the team’s signal caller for the forseeable future.

Whether you’re a fan of the extension and Bortles’ being the quarterback or not, there are factors in this decision that make a ton of sense. In terms of average salary per year, Bortles’ deal ranks 20th of all NFL quarterbacks, averaging $17,483,500 a year. Compare that to Matt Ryan’s new deal (five years, $150 million, the largest deal in NFL history), averaging $30 million a year: The difference between the two averages ($12,516,500) nearly covers new Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell’s average yearly salary ($13,300,000).

In extending Bortles on a fair deal rather than chasing the very expensive free agent QB market, the Jaguars were able to hold onto a scheme-comfortable, albeit average at best, quarterback and sign an All-Pro left guard to fill a major need along the offensive line. The deal was finanically smart for both sides.

Projected quarterback depth chart

*Note: Italics = starter, Underline = Acquired in 2018 FA/draft*

QB: Blake Bortles, Cody KesslerTanner Lee

Barring injury, Bortles will undoubtedbly be the starter heading into the 2018 season. Kessler was acquired from the Cleveland Browns for a conditional 2019 7th round pick. In two seasons with the Browns, he completed 63.8% of his passes for 1506 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions in 12 games (eight starts). He isn’t flashy by any means, but he should have no issue holding onto the #2 QB spot with his experience, and could be used in a pinch as he meshes well with the West Coast passing concepts incorporated into the Jaguars’ offense.

Lee is a project quarterback with a big arm but accuracy and decision making issues. The team selected him in the sixth round of this year’s draft out of Nebraska, where he started for a year after transferring from Tulane. In three seasons, Lee posted a 55.2 competion percentage, 6744 passing yards, 46 touchdowns and 37 interceptions.

If I was a GM, I wouldn’t have drafted Lee. I just don’t see enough potential to overcome his clear issues. He might not even make the roster this year, but since the team used a draft pick on him, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and mark him down as the team’s third quarterback.

The Jaguars’ QB room was certainly shaken up this offseason, as Chad Henne is no longer in town and Cody Kessler and Tanner Lee are here to cover his backup duties. However, the most important takeaway from how the Jaguars’ handled the signal-caller position this offseason is that Blake Bortles is going to be this team’s quarterback in 2018 and likely for a while.

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