Less than two months before the Jaguars must decide on his 2018 contract option worth $19 million, quarterback Blake Bortles underwent surgery on his right (throwing) wrist on Friday.
ESPN initially reported the operation late Monday night.
The Jaguars did not confirm Bortles’ surgery until around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, nearly 14 hours after the original report and declined to provide any other details such as the nature of the operation and a rehabilitation time-frame.
Two assumptions: First – because he was on the injury report all year, Bortles and the Jaguars were on the same page in terms of having the surgery this close to free agency. Second – because he did not miss any games, the surgery can be viewed as necessary but not one that will require a long rehabilitation.
Bortles, who nursed a shoulder injury in 2017, missed only 23 snaps while helping the Jaguars earn their first playoff appearance since 2007 and first AFC Championship Game berth since the 1999 season.
The Jaguars have until 4 p.m. on March 14 – the start of the new league year – to exercise or decline Bortles’ contract option if they have not previously reached agreement on a new contract.
The Jaguars picked up Bortles’ fifth-year option last May 1 and his salary for 2018 is guaranteed only for injury; if he is unable to pass a physical in March, he would receive the full amount regardless of if the Jaguars keep him on the roster.
Bortles appeared on all 19 of the Jaguars’ game-week injury reports this season, but was listed as a full practice participant for each of the team’s 57 Wednesday-Friday workouts. He sat out the final nine snaps of the 44-7 win over Baltimore in Week 3 and the final 14 snaps of the 45-7 win over Houston in Week 15, but not for injury reasons.
Bortles posted an 84.7 passer rating with 21 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a 60.2 completion percentage during the Jaguars’ 10-6 regular season.
In the playoffs, Bortles played turnover-free in three games, throwing three touchdowns, completing 57.6 percent of his passes and compiling a 91.0 rating.
The only time Bortles’ injury surfaced was Aug. 13 when he was shut down by coach Doug Marrone, who citied a “pitch count,” after only 10 snaps of 11-on-11 and six snaps of 7-on-7 work. Bortles threw two interceptions during the practice, but Marrone said Bortles was “absolutely not,” pulled out of practice because of the turnovers.
Four nights later, after the Jaguars’ preseason game loss to Tampa Bay, Bortles’ struggles prompted Marrone to open up the quarterback spot for competition. Chad Henne started the next preseason game, against Carolina, but Bortles was named the opening day starter on Aug. 26.