The deal is for $54 million and could be worth up to $66.5 million with incentives, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The deal also includes $26.5 million in guaranteed money, according to the source.
Bortles was due to make $19.053 million in 2018 after the team picked up his fifth-year option last May.
“I told Ryan [Tollner], my agent, let’s just get it done so I can just go play football. I really would love to just know and have confirmation that this is where I’m going to be, and now let’s go work and continue to build on what we did last year and go play,” Bortles said. “So, happy and relieved. Obviously extremely excited. It’s a dream come true to be able to sign a second contract by the team that drafted me. That was one of my goals from the start so excited to get it all done and get rolling now.”
Bortles had a rough start to the 2017 season — he had a five-interception practice in training camp and coach Doug Marrone opened up the quarterback competition during the preseason — but he rebounded and put together the best year of his career. Bortles completed 60.2 percent of his passes (the first time he surpassed the 60 percent mark) for 3,687 yards and 21 touchdowns with 13 interceptions.
“I’ve been around Blake for the past three seasons, only one as the head coach, but I have seen him grow considerably in all facets: the way he prepares, the way he takes care of his body, the way he leads the team, the way he holds himself and his teammates accountable,” Marrone said.
“I have said it all along — I think Blake is one of the toughest people I have ever met, and I’m talking about his mental and physical toughness. He never lets the outside noise get him away from where his focus is, which is always on being a great teammate and being a great leader for our organization.”
The Jaguars went 10-6 and won the AFC South — the franchise’s first division title since 1999 — and made the playoffs for the first time since the 2007 season. The Jaguars beat the Buffalo Bills at home and Pittsburgh Steelers on the road to reach the AFC Championship Game against New England at Gillette Stadium.
The Jaguars held a 10-point fourth-quarter lead before the Patriots rallied for a 24-20 victory.
Bortles completed 58 percent of his passes for 598 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in the postseason. He also ran 17 times for 121 yards, including 88 yards in the victory over Buffalo. He led a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown drives to help the Jaguars beat the Steelers 45-42.
Bortles didn’t exactly have a full complement of receivers, either. Allen Robinson suffered a torn left ACL on the third play of the season, and veterans Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee combined to miss eight games. Undrafted rookie Keelan Cole and fourth-round pick Dede Westbrook, who missed the first nine games of the season recovering from sports hernia surgery, were Bortles’ main options during a late-season stretch.
“Blake’s growth and development last season was a key to the success we had as a team,” said Tom Coughlin, the Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations. “Blake has proven, with toughness and dependability, that he can be the leader this team needs going forward. Along with this contract come high expectations that he will continue to improve and help our team accomplish its ultimate goal.”
The Jaguars drafted Bortles third overall in 2014. After a rough rookie year he seemed to have a breakout season in 2015, when he set single-season franchise records in passing yards (4,428) and passing touchdowns (35).
However, he also threw 18 interceptions that season. The former UCF standout led the NFL in turnovers from 2014 to 2016 (63), and his 51 interceptions during that span were second only to Philip Rivers‘ 52.
Bortles regressed in 2016, and Coughlin, who was hired in January 2017, put him on notice to cut down on turnovers. Bortles averaged 21 turnovers in each of his first three seasons but turned the ball over 16 times in 2017, including an interception that was ripped away from tight end James O’Shaughnessy.
Bortles has completed 59.1 percent of his passes for 14,928 yards and 90 touchdowns with 64 interceptions in four seasons with the Jaguars. He has run for 1,410 yards and seven touchdowns and is 21-40 as a starter.
Bortles ranks second in franchise history in touchdown passes and interceptions and third in passing yards, attempts and completions.
New York Jets’ Zach Wilson signs rookie deal after missing first 2 days of practice, sources say
The first-round pick and presumptive starter, who missed two days of practice as the two sides haggled over technicalities in the contract language, will sign a four-year, $35.15 million contract — a slotted deal that is fully guaranteed.
It includes a $22.9 million signing bonus and a fifth-year team option, standard for all first-round picks.
Wilson, who took a red-eye flight from Los Angeles and arrived in New Jersey on Thursday morning, was the last unsigned first-round selection from the 2021 NFL draft.
The contract includes offset language and the signing bonus will be paid within 15 days, per a source, details that imply that the sides have compromised because those were the sticking points.
At the start of camp, coach Robert Saleh said he wasn’t concerned about Wilson missing camp time. “It’s something he’ll have to navigate through,” Saleh said. “I’ve got a lot of faith in Zach. He’s incredibly intelligent, and he’s got a tremendous drive. When he does get here, I know somehow, some way he’ll make up for it.”
Wilson benefited from a heavy workload in the spring. With no veterans on the roster, he took all the first-team reps.
There was an increased sense of urgency to strike a deal because the Jets are counting on him to be their opening-day starter, although they haven’t announced that. The only other quarterbacks on the roster are James Morgan and Mike White, neither of whom has regular-season experience. Rookie contract disputes are unusual because the deals are slotted, but teams and agents sometimes haggle over certain clauses.
The Jets include an offset in every contract that has guaranteed money, which provides financial protection if they release the player before the contract is complete. An offset allows a team to cut a player before the end of his four-year contract is completed and have the remaining money reduced by the amount of his next contract.
This isn’t an unusual stance. It’s believed that 30 of the 32 teams use offsets in contracts. The exceptions are the Los Angeles Rams and the Jacksonville Jaguars, with the latter having signed No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence to a deal with no offsets.
Without an offset, a cut player collects the guarantee from his old team plus the money he receives from his new team — aka double dipping.
What complicated the Jets’ negotiation was that at least two of the five quarterbacks drafted in the first round received deals without full offsets — Lawrence and Justin Fields (No. 11 by the Chicago Bears). Fields received a partial offset.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank ‘disappointed’ in Julio Jones trade request
Blank had earlier said Jones would be a Falcon for life. Instead, it was a 10-year relationship that ended with Blank trying to reach out to Jones, but ending up not being able to speak with him.
“I think the part that bothered me personally was the fact that he expressed that he wanted to be traded,” Blank said Thursday at the first day of Atlanta’s training camp. “You know, we had a 10-year relationship. I think it was a good relationship. It was certainly productive.
“He’s a Hall of Fame player so I was disappointed he felt that way. For whatever reasons, I’m not sure. I was unable to speak with him myself. I tried to, but he felt the way he felt and was ready to make a change.”
Blank said he learned through his years of ownership in Atlanta that you want players on the roster who want to be in the building. He believed the trade, which also sent the Titans a 2023 sixth-round pick but brought the Falcons a 2022 second-round pick and 2023 fourth-round pick, would be beneficial for both sides.
It already worked out to Atlanta’s benefit financially as it created room under the salary cap for the team to sign its rookies, including No. 4 overall pick Kyle Pitts. Blank said he did not realize the team would end up trading Jones at the end of last season, either, and that “was not our original intent.”
The idea of possibly trading Jones first surfaced publicly before the NFL draft. Jones then said on FS1 on May 24 that he was “outta there,” meaning Atlanta. He was traded weeks later.
“We have tremendous regard for the player and the human being as well and he’s given us 10 great years and that’s about half of my ownership and set all kinds of records,” Blank said. “But the time was right for him to move on and I think the coach did what he could and the general manager did what he could to have him try to stay but he was ready to move.”
Jones had 848 catches for 12,896 yards and 63 touchdowns with the Falcons and is the NFL’s all-time leader in yards per game with 95.5 — almost 10 yards better than the No. 2 receiver on the list, 2021 Hall of Fame inductee Calvin Johnson.
Baltimore Ravens CB Jimmy Smith still traumatized by February robbery
“Going into the store and being around anyone with a mask or hood on, it really makes my heart thump to this day,” Smith said after Thursday’s practice. “It was terrifying situation.”
Five months ago, Smith got out of his car after checking into a hotel near the Los Angeles International Airport and was surrounded by three masked men with guns. The woman in the car with Smith, who is pregnant, had a gun pointed at her stomach, Smith said.
“You feel helpless,” Smith said. “Cowards running up on you with three guns. You don’t know if you’re going to lose your life in that moment.”
Smith said he and his family were followed to two fast-food restaurants and then back to the hotel. Smith’s children were in the car when the robbery occurred.
“The crazy thing is I seen it kind of coming,” Smith said. “You know, when something bad happens, you get this eerie feeling. I kind of had an eerie feeling. I didn’t listen to it. I hopped out of the car and just seen dudes coming at me with guns. They surrounded me. All you could think of is ‘I want to live, I want to get out of here.’ At that moment, jewelry didn’t matter. None of that matters.”
Smith said he doesn’t expect the robbers to ever get arrested.
“I’m not going to I wish death upon them,” Smith said. “But they’ll get what’s coming to them.”
Smith is starting his 10th training camp with the Ravens. A first-round pick in 2012, Smith remained with Baltimore when he signed a one-year, $2.5 million extension on Jan. 1.
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