Packers look to add depth at QB, bring in Blake Bortles

Regardless of whether quarterback Aaron Rodgers resolves his beef with the organization, the Green Bay Packers are in the market for at least two quarterbacks to help them get through the offseason and training camp.

One of those is expected to be a veteran who could start if necessary.

A person familiar with the situation told the USA TODAY Network that the Packers were expected to bring Blake Bortles to town Wednesday or Thursday to meet with him and that a deal seemed likely. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because a deal was not yet finalized. It’s not known if the Packers have interest in any other veterans, but they could sign Bortles on the spot and get him ready to take part in upcoming on-field organized team activities (OTAs).

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles is playing much better recently. He could be of help in this week’s fantasy football playoff round.
Bortles is a free agent whose career includes four seasons working under offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett when both were in Jacksonville.

General manager Brian Gutekunst said after the draft that even if Rodgers were taking part in offseason workouts, coach Matt LaFleur would need one more quarterback on the roster and possibly two. In addition to a veteran, the Packers will probably bring in an undrafted free agent or young street free agent to fill out the position.

“We’ll add a third arm or maybe a fourth arm as we go through this,” Gutekunst said after the final rounds of the draft. “We’ve kind of had some conversations before the draft with some veterans and then there’s some rookie guys we’re looking at as well.

“So, we would never go into camp with two or at least have three men, possibly four.”

Since 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love has been the only quarterback attending the virtual meetings that constitute the four-week Phase One part of the voluntary off-season program, which ends this week. Phase Two begins next week with limited on-field work at the Packers’ facility and expands to full OTA practices on May 24.

Signing Bortles now would allow him to get up to speed with the offense and be ready to take snaps when the OTAs begin whether Rodgers is there or not.

Bortles, 29, has started 73 games, all during his five-year stint with the Jaguars starting in 2014 when he was the No. 3 pick in the draft.

The Jaguars released him in March 2019 and he spent a year with the Los Angeles Rams, appearing in three games and attempting two passes. He signed a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos in ’20, was released in October and then re-signed to the Broncos’ practice squad, where he stayed until the Los Angeles Rams signed him to their active roster Dec. 28 after starter Jared Goff injured his thumb.

The 6-5, 236-pound Bortles was the backup quarterback for the Rams behind Goff when the Packers beat them in the divisional round of the playoffs at Lambeau Field.

When Hackett was offensive coordinator in Jacksonville, Bortles played some of his best football, including the 2017 season when he completed 60.2% of his passes, threw for 3,687 yards and 21 touchdowns and was intercepted 13 times (84.7 rating).

The Jaguars went 10-6 and made it to the AFC championship game.

Over his five seasons in Jacksonville, however, Bortles was a huge disappointment. He went 11-34 on his first three seasons and threw nearly as many interceptions (51) as touchdowns (69). He finished his time in Jacksonville with 103 touchdowns, 75 interceptions and an 80.6 rating.


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