As of right now, Bortles is in the dark as to whether or not that will happen (or what, exactly, a fifth-year option is, apparently).
"I have no idea," Bortles said, via Jacksonville.com. "I honestly couldn't tell you if it's a good thing or a bad thing if it's picked up or not. I'll play football here in Jacksonville for as long as they want me to, so hopefully I'm allowed to do that."
While it makes all the sense in the world to do so, the fifth-year option could be an interesting preview of Bortles' road ahead in Jacksonville. Despite finishing the season with 626 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions in his final two games, the quarterback position is open to evaluation. The Jaguars are currently in the process of hiring a new head coach, and starting Bortles is not a qualification for the gig.
A year after throwing for 4,428 yards, 35 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, Bortles capped 2016 with 3,905 yards, 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. While that was seen by many as the ultimate sign of regression, Bortles did tell reporters that he played a majority of the season with a slightly separated shoulder and, perhaps even more painful, wrist tendinitis.
It will be up to a new staff to decide whether or not Bortles' 2015 numbers are indicative of his actual skill or if 2016 was more accurate. The injuries can certainly complicate evaluation, but Jacksonville is looking for someone competent enough offensively to be able to make a firm determination. Investing too much in a quarterback who just isn't good enough can cost the franchise years of potential greatness, but Bortles is such an interesting case. Mechanics aside, his arm strength and athleticism stack up favorably.