Blake Bortles and the Jaguars went to Pittsburgh and beat the Steelers in the NFL's Divisional Playoff Round.
A team few thought would win many games this season, let alone two playoff games, will travel to New England next week for the AFC Championship game.
And Bortles was a big part of their success.
The Jacksonville quarterback wasn't great, but he was exactly what the Jaguars needed. Bortles completed 14 of 26 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 35 yards on five carries.
But wait, why is a Redskins reporter writing about this?
Jacksonville's big win in Pittsburgh could be good news for the Redskins.
With Kirk Cousins possibly hitting free agency this offseason, the Jaguars were long considered a potential landing spot for the Washington passer.
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Now, with Bortles leading the Jaguars to the AFC Championship game, that scenario seems far fetched.
Keep in mind two things:
- Bortles is under contract for 2018. Jacksonville picked up his $19 million option for next season, and while it's guaranteed for injury only, he could command more than that on the open market. In the crazy world of NFL quarterbacks, Bortles at $19 million might be a bargain. Remember, Chicago paid Mike Glennon $14 million last season.
- Jags owner Shad Khan reiterated that Bortles is the future in Jacksonville before the playoffs began, and his stance will only be solidified by the win in Pittsburgh.
Let's be clear: Cousins is a better passer than Bortles. The Redskins QB posted better statistics than Bortles in every major passing category, and the gap wasn't insignificant. With or without Jacksonville, Cousins will have a robust market in free agency.
Cousins will also carry a higher price tag, possibly as a high as $30 million if he hits true free agency.
Jacksonville has built their team on the defensive side of the ball, and offensively, they run a ball control run-first game. The Jags have more than $111 million tied up in defensive players in 2018, and only $17 million in salary cap space.
Considering all that, would Jags boss tom Coughlin want to pay up for Cousins when he has Bortles already in place?
After Jacksonville's big upset win in Pittsburgh, however, it seems much, much less likely.