Did Blake Bortles help reset the quarterback market?

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Blake Bortles
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Blake Bortles /

Did Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles help reset the quarterback market in 2018 NFL free agency? He may have helped a number of teams out…

With the quarterback market seemingly increasing year after year in the NFL, did Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles just re-set the market and stop some of the inflation?

We’ve been examining this year’s quarterback class — both free agency and the NFL Draft — since before the 2017 season even began. This has been a highly anticipated class, and almost every name that was expected as a possibility (from franchise tag candidate Kirk Cousins to redshirt sophomore Sam Darnold) is available in one offseason.

That means the supply and demand in the NFL may actually be somewhat reasonable.

Bortles’ contract extension with the Jaguars is a three-year pact worth $54 million in total money ($18 million per year) with $26.5 million in guarantees.

Essentially, Bortles was guaranteed one season after the 2018 season, so the Jaguars are going to see where things are at after the 2019 year, though Bortles is signed through 2020.

That’s why it’s important to look at the guarantees in any NFL contract…

Bortles’ contract at $18 million per season is right on par with where the quarterback market has been since Brock Osweiler left the Denver Broncos in 2016. Regardless of what we think about Bortles, the guy has both a 33 touchdown season and an AFC Championship appearance on his resumé, and he’s just 26 years old.

I have to think that his contract changes some things in the quarterback market, though I don’t think it affects Kirk Cousins at all. Cousins is going to get his $28-30 million per season, and that’s just that.

For other quarterbacks, however, Bortles may have driven the price down a bit.

Bortles has, in all honesty, shown more at this point in his NFL career than Case Keenum, though I would say Keenum was the better player in 2017 overall. Despite that, Bortles is younger than Keenum and has been productive more than just one season in the NFL, despite his inconsistencies.

Will Keenum be able to get more years and guaranteed cash than Bortles?

I’m not so sure about that.

Right now, the average per year going rate for a quarterback (top 16 highest paid at the position) ranges from $19.25 million (Ryan Tannehill) all the way up to $27.5 million (Jimmy Garoppolo).

Cousins will obviously be at the top of that list when all is said and done but Bortles checked in at 17th on that list at $18 million per season, and quite honestly, that seems like a pretty good place to rank him right now in terms of his potential and production at this point in his career.

Even if Bortles isn’t the 17th best quarterback in the NFL, his new contract extension seems like a very rare one in terms of the fact that it seems like a really fair deal for Bortles and was slightly below market value and the inflation of the quarterback market.

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The main players this could really affect?

I think you have to look at guys like Case Keenum, A.J. McCarron, and Tyrod Taylor if he becomes available as a free agent.

Teams can look at the deal Bortles just received, and perhaps use that as a starting point with a guy like Keenum, who may not be able to get a long-term commitment from a team (other than the Vikings). It could also be used as sort of a maximum number for someone like McCarron, who is extremely unproven at this point.

I was assuming going into this offseason that quarterbacks’ starting points would be around the $20 million mark, and who knows? Maybe that could still be the case. But I think with Bortles getting this new contract and the average per year at $18 million, I don’t think anyone except Cousins can make a case that they’ve been that much better than Bortles over the past four years that they deserve a bigger contract.

That deal could have a significant impact on the quarterback market.