JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When NFL players sign huge contracts, other players around the league notice -- especially when it's a quarterback.
So it's not a surprise that Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles was aware of the five-year, $103.8 million contract that Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton signed recently. Or the four-year, $77 million deal Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill signed.
"A hundred million dollars is always exciting," he joked.
Then he turned serious: "Those guys all earn it. They're great quarterbacks. They get paid what they deserve."
Bortles is hoping to one day join that club. He's certainly putting in the work to try and get there. He spent more than two months earlier this year in California working with throwing guru Tom House and quarterback coach Jordan Palmer. Bortles said he spent five consecutive days with House, who also has worked with Tom Brady and Drew Brees, and then worked with him three days a week for the rest of the two months. He also threw with Palmer once or twice a week.
Bortles said he plans on making another week-long trip to California after the end of next week’s three-day mandatory minicamp and before the start of training camp in late July. He’ll put more work in on his delivery and follow-through plus whatever else offensive coordinator Greg Olson and House, who stay in contact regarding Bortles’ learning plan, decide needs to be fine-tuned.
The hope is all that work will make him one of the league's top quarterbacks -- and maybe earn him a $100 million contract, too.
"That’s the goal," Bortles said. "I try and go out and get better each and every day and make a career out of this kind of job so I want to be here long term and do as much as I can to make this team better."