Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars QB dilemma: Dispelling the cap gap in Blake Bortles vs. Kirk Cousins argument

Kirk Cousins

If you’re a Jaguars fan and think Blake Bortles is a better quarterback than free agent Kirk Cousins, fine.

You’re wrong, but entitled to that opinion.

If you think Bortles should be the unquestioned starter after winning two playoff games and the AFC South title this past season, fine.

You’re too sentimental, but fine.

However, if your concern over the Jaguars ditching Bortles for Cousins is salary-cap related, you can forget it.

The 29-year-old Cousins is your choice. The numbers are closer than you think.

The Jaguars have a decision to make. They can keep Bortles on the fifth-year option this coming season at $19 million or they can cut him before March 14 and pursue Cousins.

The concern I keep hearing from Jaguars fans is how signing Cousins will affect the rest of the team. It won’t. Here’s why.

San Francisco just made Jimmy Garoppolo the highest-paid player at an average of $27.5 million per year. Let’s say Kirk Cousins will be signed at $30 million per season. That’s a sizable jump over the top deal, but it will make our math easier.

Here’s what people are missing in the comparison: Bortles’ salary isn’t going backwards.

If he plays well this fall, he’ll either demand a contract that pays more than Cousins’ or the Jaguars will have to franchise tag him at roughly $25 million.

The other alternative would be that Bortles regresses and the Jaguars let him walk in free agency. Then, they have to start over. There won’t be another quarterback on the free-agent market as good as Cousins in 2019 and the draft pool looks shallow right now. Plus, the Jaguars could still be picking in the twenties. They have the 29th overall pick in this draft after reaching the AFC Championship Game.

Let’s go through the next few years and prove how Cousins vs. Bortles isn’t the glaring cap problem many believe.

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