The Blake Bortles era in Jacksonville is over.
This development has been expected for a while. On Wednesday, the Jaguars’ signing of Nick Foles on a four-year deal worth $88 million became official with the start of the new league year. The move was necessitated by the disappointing play of Bortles.
Following the Jaguars’ unexpected run to the AFC title game in 2017, Bortles signed a three-year, $54 million contract, including $26.5 million guaranteed. According to Spotrac, the Jaguars will absorb a $16.5 million cap hit by releasing Bortles. His improved play and the Jaguars’ success in 2017 validated the deal at the time, with the team opting for continuity rather than swapping quarterbacks in what was expected to be another run to the playoffs in 2018.
Jacksonville, however, struggled to meet lofty expectations in 2018. Bortles returned to the scattershot performances that had characterized his NFL career. The Jaguars finished 5-11 — this after starting the season 3-1 — and Bortles was eventually benched in favor of Cody Kessler. Over five seasons in Jacksonville, Bortles compiled a 24-49 record as a starter, throwing 103 touchdown passes but getting picked off 75 times.
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The Jaguars now will move forward with Foles behind center. Foles — the MVP in the Philadelphia Eagles’ win in Super Bowl LII — developed into a dependable starting quarterback during his second tenure with the Eagles, impeccably filling in for injured starter Carson Wentz.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.
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