The Bortles Benching
A week 7 loss to the Texans drops the once AFC favorite Jaguars to 3-4 in 2018. Statistically speaking, QB Blake Bortles is producing at or slightly better than his 4-year averages to date - but that’s not saying much. Jacksonville benched the 26-year-old again yesterday, putting his future very much in question.
Bortles signed a 3 year $54 million extension last February that came with $26.5M guaranteed at signing, $15M of which in the form of a signing bonus. $6.5M of his 2019 salary is already fully guaranteed, meaning the Jaguars hold $16.5M of dead cap to release him after 2018. While a trade would make this figure just $10M of dead cap - it’s highly unlikely at this point. It should also be noted the the $6.5M in guarantees does contain offsets, meaning Jacksonville would be credited back any salary that Bortles is able to earn on another team next year - up to the $6.5M mark.
Related: View the Bortles Contract
Potential QB Replacements via Trade
Tyrod Taylor, 29, CLE
Taylor has $5.8M of his $10M salary remaining in 2018, which would exhaust nearly all of the Jaguars projected remaining cap space for 2018. But there’s a chance he could be a real upgrade for Jacksonville in the 2nd half of the season. He’s set to be a free agent after 2018.
Eli Manning, 37, NYG
Falling out of favor in a similar fashion to Bortles, Manning has $6.1M remaining on his 2018 compensation, which seems too rich in comparison to Taylor - though Manning’s experience is hard to ignore. Eli is due another $17M in 2019 with a cap hit of $23.2M. It’s very possible he’s looking for work in early March.
Teddy Bridgewater, 26, NO
The Saints probably aren’t willing to let Bridgewater get away as they look to control as much depth as possible for a Super Bowl run in 2018. But he was an offseason target in Jacksonville, so I imagine the conversation is at least being had internally. The Saints restructured Bridgewater’s salary upon his trade, which means he only has $550,000 remaining were he to be traded this week. Also set to hit the free agent market in 2019, this might be a real possibility for the Jags if New Orleans is willing to play ball.
Robert Griffin III, 29, BAL
The Ravens are competing with Jacksonville to stay alive in the AFC, but Baltimore’s third QB might be a better option than Jacksonville’s first. Griffin looked good this offseason, and is strongly supplanted behind Joe Flacco & Lamar Jackson on the depth chart going forward. There have been worse ideas for sure. Griffin has $588,235 remaining on his 2018 salary and will become a free agent next March.
Related: Available Free Agent QBs
The Well-Paid Rams are Cashing In
The Rams were rewarded in Week 7 by every player they tendered mega contract-extensions to this past offseason. Todd Gurley is in a different zip code from the other running backs in football right now as his three scores Sunday now give him 14 on a young season. He’s on pace for whopping 2,200 yards from scrimmage in 2018, on the heels of his 4 year, $57.5M extension this July. Gurley’s cap figure jumps to a manageable $9.2M in 2019 before things get really interesting. Currently, Todd Gurley holds cap figures of $17.25M, $13.2M, $14.2M, & $10.4M through 2023. Even with a restructure in 2020, the Rams are going to have to allocate some serious financial real estate to their running back going forward.
Aaron Donald has 8 sacks through 7 games, including 4 this weekend against the 49ers, where he also tallied a forced fumble and 8 tackles. The 27-year-old locked down a 6 year, $135M extension in late August, which strongly secures him $87M over the next 4 seasons. His cap figure more than doubles in 2019, up to $17.1M next season before it extends to $25M in 2020, & $27.8M in 2021.
WR Brandin Cooks reeled in 5 catches for 64 yards and a score against the 49ers in Week 7. The 25-year-old is now averaging 5 grabs and 81 yards per game in 2018. While the TDs are being allocated to many of the Rams’ other weapons, he’s been as-advertised this season in LA. Cooks signed a 5 year $80M extension this past July, which will snag him at the very least, $50M over the next 3 seasons, with another $12M in 2021 very likely as well.
These three players currently hold combined cap figures of $59.05M in 2020. Assuming a $197M league cap, this could be nearly 30% of the Rams total allocations.
Free Agent Stock Up:
- Tyrell Williams WR, LAC, now has 20 grabs, 428 yards, & 4 TDs.
- Golden Tate, WR, DET, he’s on pace for 80+ catches & 7 TDs in a contract year.
- Adrian Peterson, RB, WAS, has a legitimate shot at 1,500 yards from scrimmage.
- Rodger Saffold, OG, LAR, he’s been a force on the left side of Jared Goff
- Frank Clark DE, SEA, 14 tackles, 6 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, & an INT in 6 games.