Is Brady’s Next Back-Up Blake Bortles?

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Blake Bortles was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Wednesday after the team signed former Philadelphia Eagles and Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles to a 4-year $88 million dollar contract.  Bortles is now free to test the free agent market and find his next home.

Photo courtesy of usatoday.com

The New England Patriots should sign Bortles.  Go ahead and say that out loud.  I promise, you won’t sound like a complete crazy person when you do.  I’ll explain why.

Back in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Patriots had significant interest in the quarterback out of Central Florida.  It was rumored that had he fallen all the way the 62nd pick in the draft the Patriots would have selected him.  Instead Bortles went 3rd to the Jaguars and the Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo.

So why should the Patriots sign Bortles?

Currently on the depth chart the Patriots have Brian Hoyer as the back up to Tom Brady.  Hoyer, 33, is not the future for the Patriots.  Danny Etling is on the practice squad, but he doesn’t factor into the equation at all.  The team needs to identify and develop the heir to the throne.  Bortles can be that player for the Patriots.

From a salary perspective, Bortles could take the league minimum, which is $805,000 to sign with the team.  He will already be paid $6.5 million dollars by the Jags due to his release from the team.  Secondly, Bortles could begin to develop as the future under Brady.  Now I know what you are probably thinking; can Blake Bortles really be the future in New England?

Let’s look at Bortles, 26, from a football perspective, shall we?  In his career so far, statistically speaking, he has 103 touchdowns to 75 interceptions and an 80.6 passer rating.  The current state of the NFL and the quarterback position, a team needing a signal caller would welcome those stats to the team.  His 59.3% completion percentage is an ugly number and will cause concern for teams.  

He also has difficulties holding on to the football.  Over his career, Bortles has fumbled a staggering 46 times, and 13 of those times resulted in a turnover.  However, the 195 times he’s been sacked hasn’t helped him either.  Keep in mind, Bortles has also gone through a handful of offensive coordinators in his time with Jacksonville.  The Jaguars haven’t exactly been the model of consistency the last few seasons.


Under the guidance of Bill Belichick and Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels, Bortles could learn a system that will allow him to be successful and consistent.  During his 5-year career Bortles has lacked consistency from a coaching perspective.  I don’t care who you are, if you have no consistency from a leadership and coaching stand point you will not be successful.

But Belichick believes in the quarterback.  Belichick has had high praise for Bortles before the NFL Draft and during his time with the Jags.  The Patriots Head Coach has stated to the PatriotsWire that “He runs well.  He’s a big, strong kid.  He’s hard to bring down.  He can extend plays.”  In fact, Bortles has 1,775 career rushing yards with eight touchdowns.  Bortles also  has had some nice things to say about Belichick, “Obviously, Belichick is a coach that has been around for a long time, done a lot, seen a ton of quarterbacks and a ton of football,” Bortles said in an interview with Jacksonville.com.

During Belichick’s time coaching the Patriots he has made it a habit of signing NFL experienced back-up quarterbacks.  For example, Damon Huard, Vinny Testaverde, Brian Hoyer (well re-signed him) and Doug Flutie.  In this case however, the Patriots could be signing Bortles with the chance he could be the future.

Over the next few weeks the Patriots are going to be linked to numerous players.  They have already been linked to Arizona Cardinals starter Josh Rosen since the Cardinals are in love with Kyler Murray.

Honestly, the Patriots should sign Bortles but only to be Brady’s back-up.  I don’t genuinely think he is the future quarterback for the New England Patriots.  Bortles brings youth and experience to the position, which is something Hoyer doesn’t.  If God forbid something happened to TB12, I would be more comfortable with Bortles leading the team than Hoyer.

If Matt Cassel can lead the Patriots to 10 wins, I’m sure Bortles could do the same and actually get them in the playoffs.

The Patriots should draft the next great quarterback to lead the team for the next 10-12 years.  In the meantime, having a younger experienced backup in Bortles as an insurance plan for a 40 plus year old quarterback is the reason why New England is and will always be one step ahead of the rest.


Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisHenrique

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Is Brady’s Next Back-Up Blake Bortles?
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