JACKSONVILLE – The move made sense, and the decision wasn't difficult.
That was Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell's assessment of the Jaguars' move Monday to exercise its fifth-year option on quarterback Blake Bortles' contract.
Caldwell joined Jaguars.com LIVE Wednesday, discussing a variety of topics including the recently-completed 2017 NFL Draft, the team's '17 undrafted free agents and Bortles' contract. Caldwell said exercising the option just made sense.
"It means we have our starting quarterback under contract for another year," Caldwell told John Oehser and J.P. Shadrick on Jaguars.com LIVE Wednesday. "That's a good thing because you have that security.
"It's good for the team. We have the use of our franchise tag and our transition tag still available if we need it, and obviously we're looking forward and hopefully Blake performs the way we think he can perform."
Bortles, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, like all NFL first-round selections, originally signed a four-year contract with the team having an option for a fifth season. The fifth season is guaranteed only for injury, which means the team can theoretically release Bortles after 2017 unless he sustains an injury in 2017 that won't allow him to play in 2018.
"The risk is a season-ending type of injury, but that's part of the deal in football," Caldwell said. "You take that risk. Now, he can go out there and play free and not have to worry about that."
Also on Wednesday:
*Caldwell said the team likely will keep four running backs in 2017, a total that does not necessarily include a fullback. The team selected running back Leonard Fournette No. 4 overall last Thursday, with Chris Ivory, T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant also returning from last season. The team also signed Tim Cook and I'Tavius Mathers as collegiate free agents. The Jaguars selected fullback Marquez Wilson in Saturday's seventh round and signed veteran fullback Tommy Bohanon this offseason. Caldwell said being a run-oriented team has "been the plan for a couple of years," Caldwell said. "We got away from it last year for many reasons. We looked at the last two games of the  season, when Doug [Marrone] took over as [interim head coach] … we threw the ball efficiently because we ran the ball efficiently. I think we can carry that over this year."
*Caldwell addressed the third-round selection of defensive end Dawuane Smoot of Illinois. Many observers thought the Jaguars would select offensive line at the spot. "We felt like we took the player who can make the most difference not only this year, but in the future," Caldwell said. "Dawuane was our highest-rated guy at the time. We needed really one more guy to come in to that [defensive-line] rotation. When [defensive end] Calais [Campbell] bumps inside, we have a guy out there on the edge." Caldwell said offensive linemen selected later in the draft would have had difficulty playing ahead of offensive linemen already on the roster. "Those guys have played games in the NFL, and have produced," Caldwell said of the linemen on the roster. …