Packers look to add depth by bringing in former Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles

Tom Silverstein
Packers News
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Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles could give the Packers some offseason help at the position.

GREEN BAY - Regardless of whether quarterback Aaron Rodgers resolves his beef with the organization, the Green Bay Packers are in the market for at least two quarterbacks to help them get through the offseason and training camp.

One of those is will be veteran Blake Bortles.

A league source told PackersNews that the Packers were bringing Bortles to town Wednesday to meet with him and that a deal seemed likely. It’s not known if the Packers have interest in any other veterans, but signing Bortles on the spot makes sense so that he can take part in upcoming on-field organized team activities (OTAs).

Before the day was through, ESPN reported that Bortles would sign a one-year deal with the Packers. The club officially announced the Bortles signing Thursday.

Bortles was a free agent whose career includes four seasons working under offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett when both were in Jacksonville, which is part of the reason he appealed to the Packers. The free agent quarterback class has been picked through and Bortles and little-used veteran Nick Mullens are probably the top two candidates left.

General manager Brian Gutekunst said after the draft that even if Rodgers were taking part in offseason workouts, coach Matt LaFleur would need one more quarterback on the roster and possibly two. In addition to a veteran, the Packers will probably bring in an undrafted free agent or young street free agent to fill out the position.

“We'll add a third arm or maybe a fourth arm as we go through this,” Gutekunst said after the final rounds of the draft. “We've kind of had some conversations before the draft with some veterans and then there's some rookie guys we're looking at as well.

“So, we would never go into camp with two or at least have three men, possibly four.”

Jordan Love, the team's 2020 first-round pick, has been the only quarterback attending the virtual meetings that constitute the four-week Phase One part of the voluntary off-season program. Phase Two begins Monday with limited on-field work at the Packers’ facility and expands to full OTA practices on May 24.

Signing Bortles now allows him to get up to speed with the offense and be ready to take snaps when the OTAs begin whether Rodgers is there or not.

Bortles, 29, has started 73 games, all during his five-year stint with the Jaguars starting in 2014 when he was the No. 3 pick in the draft.

The Jaguars released him in March 2019 and he spent a year with the Los Angeles Rams, appearing in three games and attempting two passes. He signed a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos in ’20, was released in October and then re-signed to the Broncos' practice squad, where he stayed until the Los Angeles Rams signed him to their active roster Dec. 28 after starter Jared Goff injured his thumb.

The 6-5, 236-pound Bortles was the backup quarterback for the Rams behind Goff when the Packers beat them in the divisional round of the playoffs at Lambeau Field.

When Hackett was offensive coordinator in Jacksonville, Bortles played some of his best football, including the 2017 season when he completed 60.2% of his passes, threw for 3,687 yards and 21 touchdowns and was intercepted 13 times (84.7 rating).

The Jaguars went 10-6 and made it to the AFC championship game.

Over his five seasons in Jacksonville, however, Bortles was a huge disappointment. He went 11-34 on his first three seasons and threw nearly as many interceptions (51) as touchdowns (69). He finished his time in Jacksonville with 103 touchdowns, 75 interceptions and an 80.6 rating.

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