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Bortles: “This is where I wanted to be”

Posted Feb 24, 2018

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles on signing contract extension through 2020: “Signing a second deal with the team that drafted me was my goal from the beginning; it has been done and I’m excited”

JACKSONVILLE – Blake Bortles’ request was simple.

When it came to the contract extension the Jaguars’ quarterback signed on Saturday afternoon, Bortles said he wasn’t overly concerned about details.

“I told my agent, ‘Man, let’s just get it done so I can go play football,’’’ Bortles said.

The Jaguars and Bortles on Saturday did just that, with the four-year veteran quarterback signing a contract extension with the team through the 2020 season.

Bortles, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, reportedly signed a three-year contract worth $54 million with $26.5 guaranteed. The deal reportedly could be worth up to $66.5 million with incentives.

Bortles said he was “happy, relieved and extremely excited,” adding that achieving the goal of signing a second contract with the team that drafted him was more important than the contract’s total value.

“Everybody dreams of making $100 million and the quarterbacks are expected to sign that big deal,” Bortles said. “That was never something that was very important to me. Signing a second deal with the team that drafted me was my goal from the beginning. It’s been done and I’m excited.

“I’m thrilled and proud of myself for being able to do that. There obviously is still a lot of work and things that need to go on.”

Bortles said his agent, Ryan Tollner, made him aware earlier this week that contract talks were gaining momentum. He said he believed early this week that an agreement might be reached before next week’s NFL Scouting Combine, which will begin in Indianapolis, Indiana, Tuesday.

“As the week went on, it kind of progressively heated up a little bit and got closer and closer,” Bortles said. “I talked to Ryan this morning and he mentioned he wanted to get it done by the end of the day.”

Bortles, who entered the offseason on the final year of the five-year contract he signed as a rookie, called the Jaguars the best fit for him. Bortles had the best season of his career last season in Doug Marrone’s first full season as head coach and Nathaniel Hackett’s first full season as offensive coordinator.

Hackett was Bortles’ third coordinator in four NFL seasons.

“This is definitely the place I wanted to be,” Bortles said, also citing personal reasons such as Jacksonville being close to his hometown of Oviedo, Florida.

Bortles arrived at EverBank Field around 4 p.m. Saturday and signed the contract shortly after 8:30 p.m.

Also on Saturday, Bortles discussed the right wrist issue that had him on the team’s injury report throughout last season – and that required surgery January 26. He said the surgery repaired a partially torn ligament on the outside of the wrist and cleaned up some inflamed “stuff” on the top of the wrist.

Bortles, who said he threw Monday, Wednesday and Friday last week in a “limited capacity,” said he plans to leave for California Sunday to begin his offseason working with his personal throwing coaches. He said he expects to be 100 percent throwing in two weeks.

Bortles said he received three cortisone shots on the wrist last season, but said each had less of an effect. He also said he never came close to missing a game because of the issue.

Bortles also on Saturday addressed the contract status of Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on the March 14 start of the 2018 NFL League Year. Bortles’ contract extension will give the Jaguars added flexibility under the salary cap, and could assist in re-signing players such as Robinson and cornerback Aaron Colvin.

“I would hope he maybe assumes I want A-Rob back,” Bortles said with a laugh. “But those are decisions that are totally up them. They’ll do everything they can to do what’s in the best interest of the team. I think A-Rob is an incredible football player and would love to have him.”

Bortles said he stressed to Tollner that he didn’t want to fight over financial details at the expense of limiting what the Jaguars could do with other players.

“That was one of the big things when me and Ryan talked early on about this a week ago,” Bortles said. “I said, ‘We’re getting paid millions of dollars to play football.’ It’s tough to pitter patter about how much money you’re making. It’s all incredible. It’s all a dream come true. We’re all extremely lucky to do it.

“Rather than fight over money here or money there, let’s take what we can get because it’s more than I ever thought I’d make and it allows us to go get some other guys done and continue to be a good football team all around.”


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