The Jacksonville Jaguars are riding with quarterback Blake Bortles moving forward. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported his new three-year deal could be worth up to $66.5 million includes $26.5 million in guarantees. The move will probably prevent the Jaguars from diving too deep into the quarterback market this offseason, while keeping him in Jacksonville through 2020.
More importantly, the structure of the new deal could help the team keep Allen Robinson from exploring the free agent market.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweeted Bortles’ cap number for the first year of his re-worked deal is $10 million. Lowering Bortles’ cap number by $9 million gives the Jaguars some wiggle room to make moves elsewhere throughout the roster to improve a team coming off an AFC Championship Game appearance. Those moves could include re-signing Robinson or giving him the franchise tag if it comes down to it. The Jaguars have until 3 p.m. on March 6 to designate Robinson as their franchise or transition player.
ESPN’s Michael DiRocco believes re-signing Robinson should be the team’s No. 1 priority now that the quarterback situation is settled. But what will a new deal for Robinson look like moving forward?
DiRocco guesses a one-year deal loaded with incentives – much like the one Alshon Jeffery signed with the Philadelphia Eagles last winter – could do the trick. Jeffery made good on his one-year “prove it” deal and signed a four-year extension in the middle of the year before going on to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl title. From a Jaguars perspective, you can see where that kind of deal is something they would like to get done. And while Robinson would likely prefer a long-term contract, perhaps following the blueprint laid out by Jeffery is a pretty good (and lucrative) idea.
No matter which way it unfolds, the Jaguars’ path toward retaining the talented receiver just became that much clearer. Thus, making the Bears’ road to finding able-bodied receivers in the free agent market that much more difficult. Like I said … grumble.