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Packers sign former Jaguars QB Bortles (reports)

Bortles threw a career-high 35 touchdown passes in 2015, but has only two pass attempts in the last two seasons.
Blake Bortles Jaguars
Posted at 6:45 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 19:46:57-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Packers are bringing in a veteran arm at quarterback. Green Bay has signed former Jaguars signal-caller Blake Bortles, according to multiple reports.

Bortles started on and off for five seasons in Jacksonville, throwing for a career-high 35 touchdown passes in 2015 and leading the Jaguars to the AFC Championship game in 2017.

However he's only made two pass attempts in the past two seasons, and spent much of the 2020 campaign on the Broncos practice squad before being signed by the Rams in late December.

The move is not entirely unexpected. On May 1, after the conclusion of the NFL Draft, Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst said Green Bay was looking to add extra quarterbacks - possibly even a veteran such as Bortles.

"We'll add a third arm or maybe a fourth arm, "Gutekunst said. "We had some conversations before the draft with some veterans and there's some rookie guys we're looking at as well.

"We'll at least have three and possibly four," he said.

Prior to the signing, the Packers had just two quarterbacks on the roster: Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love. With uncertainty surrounding Rodgers' future with the franchise, bringing in at least one quarterback became imperative for the Packers after they didn't draft or sign any QBs as undrafted free agents.

If Rodgers remains with the team, Bortles will be hard-pressed to find a spot on the roster as the Packers No. 3 quarterback. If Rodgers leaves - either by trade or retirement - Bortles could potentially compete for playing time if 22-year-old Jordan Love isn't ready to play quite yet.

Bortles does have some familiarity with the Packers coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was his OC in Jacksonville. He also ran the Rams' system in 2019 and for part of 2020; Packers head coach Matt LaFleur previously worked with Rams head coach Sean McVay when the two were together in Washington.