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View from the O-Zone: Henne re-signing just made sense


JACKSONVILLE – This one felt logical, and it just felt right.

Chad Henne felt that, too, and that's why he will remain with the Jaguars – and with Blake Bortles – for the foreseeable future.

Henne, the Jaguars' backup quarterback for much of the past two seasons – and for every game since Bortles took over as the starter early in the 2014 season – on Thursday re-signed with the team. That prevents him from becoming an unrestricted free agent, which would have happened at the beginning of the NFL's league year March 9.

"We felt coming into this Jacksonville was a great spot," Henne said after signing his contract at EverBank Field shortly before noon Thursday. "If we feel comfortable and had a pretty good deal here, why not stay?"

According to reports the deal is $8 million over two years, with incentives. That means it's similar to the deal under which he played the past two seasons. That's great for Henne, and it's a good thing for the Jaguars for a couple of reasons.

One, it gives them a very good backup quarterback – one with more than three seasons worth of NFL starting experience.

Two – and perhaps most importantly from the team's long-term perspective –  it keeps Henne together with Bortles, who has talked often of how much he values his relationship with Henne. It's a relationship Henne values, too, and he discussed that upon signing Thursday.

"My mindset right now is I see him work each and every day," Henne said of Bortles. "I feel like I have a good work ethic, but this kid really wants to get better and has the drive, and has the right attitude. When you work with somebody like that, where it's similar to your work ethic, you want to be around that because the two of you can tie together and be together all the time."

Re-signing with the Jaguars indeed meant a chance to continue working with Bortles.

It also realistically means giving up a chance to be a long-term NFL starter – or even having a realistic chance to compete for a starting job. Bortles is without question The Guy here.

Henne, with eight years NFL experience and 53 starts, may not be an elite quarterback but he's certainly one capable of starting in the NFL – and competing in the right situation. Henne on Thursday was asked about forgoing that chance.

No, it wasn't easy, but it just made sense.

"There were opportunities to venture out, to jump out and play again, but really there aren't that many opportunities out there," Henne said. "Those teams that needed a quarterback are most likely going to be in the same situation – where they draft a quarterback and I'd be in that same situation again.

"Why not be here where I feel comfortable? And I love working with Blake. …

And indeed, that's what makes this make so much sense for both parties.

It's hard to imagine the Jaguars finding a better fit to be the backup quarterback. That's true on many fronts. Yes, he and Bortles get along well – and yes, Henne because of his starting experience obviously has experience if/when called upon. But he also has shown a willingness to handle the backup role professionally.

Henne, remember, signed with the Jaguars as Blaine Gabbert's backup in 2012. He started 19 games his first two seasons here, then re-signed with the team in 2014. He signed as the starter that offseason, but it was obvious the team would be drafting a rookie destined to be a franchise quarterback.

The team indeed drafted Bortles, and though the plan was to start Henne for a season before having Bortles take over this past season, the transition instead happened after three regular-season games. Henne handled the moment professionally, just as he has handled all situations since joining the organization.

And make no mistake:

Henne absolutely was right that had he signed with another team, he probably would have gone through the same situation again.

So, indeed, why not Henne for the Jaguars? And why not the Jaguars for Henne?

The answer in the end for both parties was there was no logical reason. Henne gets the security of a familiar situation, with a team that values and wants him. The Jaguars got a reliable, experienced backup quarterback – and Bortles continues to have a veteran in the meeting room and on the sidelines he trusts.

No, it may not have been easy, but it was logical and right. And in the end, it just made sense.

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