But that does not mean they'll trip over themselves to sign Bortles to his fifth-year option. The team has until May to make that call and, according to general manager Dave Caldwell, will be taking their time.
"Just like with everything we've done from the end of the season until now, we'll get a lot of input from our coaches," Caldwell said. "We've got [organized team activities], we've got mini-camps, we've got a lot of things between now and then to see where he's at. I don't think any decision will be made until closer to May."
Coach Doug Marrone defended Bortles during his news conference Wednesday and Caldwell continued to back him Thursday. The organization has provided a unified front on the former No. 3 overall pick, who appeared to regress a year ago mechanically, which caused a dip in production.
"Over the last two years, he's accounted for 64 touchdowns -- only four quarterbacks have produced more touchdowns than that," Caldwell said. "Obviously, like he said and Coach Marrone and Coach Coughlin have said, he has to cut down on the turnovers, but I think he'll learn to maybe throw the ball away at times. He's such a competitive person, but it's a maturation process with him. Until we can account for the 64 touchdowns, he's going to be our quarterback."
Caldwell is right in that, there is no sense for the Jaguars to even be thinking about Bortles' fifth-year option right now. They'll have a series of practices and further evaluation time before committing another year. Even then, the fifth-year option is not binding and is guaranteed only for injury. The book on Bortles this offseason has been that he allowed his mechanics to slack. Caldwell mentioned maturity, and the general sense around the team is that this is a correctable mistake. For what it's worth, Bortles was 51 of 77 for 626 yards, two touchdowns and a pick over his final two games.
The Jaguars will go as Blake goes in 2017, which might be the only way to truly know if he is worth bringing back the following season.