Packers add QB depth with Bortles as Rodgers saga continues

Sports
Blake Bortles

FILE – In this Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 file photo, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Blake Bortles throws prior to a preseason NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Honolulu. The Green Bay Packers have signed Blake Bortles as they attempt to add quarterback depth while reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers’ future with the team remains uncertain, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers have signed Blake Bortles as they attempt to add quarterback depth while MVP Aaron Rodgers’ future with the team remains uncertain.

Rodgers, who has reportedly expressed his desire not to return to Green Bay, had been one of two quarterbacks on the roster along with 2020 first-round draft pick Jordan Love. General manager Brian Gutekunst said after the draft that “we’ll add a third arm and maybe a fourth arm as we go through.”

Bortles, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, will be reunited with Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

The 29-year-old Bortles started 73 games for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2014-18. Hackett was Jacksonville’s quarterbacks coach from 2015-16 and offensive coordinator from 2016-18.

The move gives the Packers three quarterbacks who were drafted in the first round. Rodgers was selected 24th overall in 2005. The Packers traded up four spots to take Love 26th last year.

How long Rodgers will remain with the Packers remains unclear.

After ESPN reported just before the draft that Rodgers doesn’t want to return to Green Bay, Packers CEO Mark Murphy posted a column on the team’s website in which he said “this is an issue that we’ve been working on for several months.” Murphy acknowledged that he, Gutekunst and coach Matt LaFleur had met with Rodgers “on a number of occasions” during the offseason.

Gutekunst has said the Packers have no plans to trade Rodgers, who has three years remaining on his contract. Murphy has indicated the Packers want to keep Rodgers in Green Bay in 2021 and beyond.

Bortles spent portions of the 2020 season with the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams but didn’t appear in a game for either team. He played three games in a reserve role for the Rams in 2019.

He has completed 59.3% of his pass attempts for 17,649 yards with 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions.

Bortles ranks second in Jaguars history in yards passing, touchdown passes, pass attempts (2,632) and completions (1,561). The Jaguars benched Bortles and fired Hackettlate in the 2018 season after the Jaguars suffered a seventh straight loss while staggering to a 5-11 finish one year after reaching the AFC championship game.

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