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Blake Bortles: 'I would be thrilled' to stay with Jaguars

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  • By Edward Lewis NFL.com
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The Jacksonville Jaguars have a decision to make with Blake Bortles. But if it were up to the quarterback, he'd be staying put.

While the Jags picked up Bortles' fifth-year, $19-million option back in May, the contract is only guaranteed if he's a member of the roster on the first day of the league year on March 14. So the Jags have roughly two months to decide if they want to sign him to a long-term deal, let him play out that 2018 option, or cut bait altogether.

For Bortles, the decision would be an easy one.

"I've enjoyed my four years here in Jacksonville, and I would love to be able to play here for as long as they would let me," Bortles told reporters Monday, via ESPN's Michael DiRocco. "What they do and all the decisions that are made are kind of out of my control. I'd be thrilled to be able to stay here and play here, and hopefully that can happen."

Bortles had the Jaguars just a few plays from the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday. His 293 yards on 23-of-36 passing and one touchdown were nearly enough to dethrone Tom Brady and the Pats atop the conference.

Though in an offseason where quarterbacks like Kirk Cousins, Eli Manning, Alex Smith, Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater and even Drew Brees could be available, there appears to be at least some hand-wringing in Duval over whether or not bringing back Bortles as the starter in 2018 would be the best move for the franchise.

"I would really have to take a step back and look at it," coach Doug Marrone said of Bortles' situation Monday. "I don't think I'm in the best mindset to talk about any of our players from that standpoint of what is going on. I'm happy for all of our players, I'm happy for all their contributions and what they have done. Now it's a matter of taking a step back and giving myself some time and looking at things as a whole."

Bortles took some steps forward this past season, throwing for a career-low 13 interceptions and a career-high 60.2 completion percentage. His work against the Patriots and the Steelers in the playoffs, plus the idea of building on a solid first year with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett definitely play in his favor.

But with the treasure trove of quarterbacks that could be available this offseason, will that be enough for Marrone and the rest of the Jaguars' brass to bring him back?

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