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Another team removes themselves from the free agent quarterback derby

And it was one that you probably wouldn’t expect

AFC Championship - Jacksonville Jaguars v New England Patriots Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Yesterday, some unexpected news came down on the NFL quarterback front, and while the Minnesota Vikings weren’t directly involved with it, it’s something that could end up benefiting them.

The Jacksonville Jaguars agreed to a contract extension with quarterback Blake Bortles on Saturday. Bortles, who was set to play next year on his fifth-year option worth about $19 million, instead gets a contract that runs through 2020. . .at least on paper. . .and gives him $26.5 million in guaranteed money.

The move by the Jaguars means that they’re going to be out of the derby for Kirk Cousins or Case Keenum or any other free agent quarterback when free agency kicks off here in a couple of weeks. That’s one less team that the Vikings will have to bid against, and one that could have been a very appealing destination for quarterbacks looking for an opportunity to win. Like the Vikings, the Jaguars have an outstanding defense and appear to be poised to take another big leap if they can just get a quarterback to carry the load on offense.

Over at ESPN a few days ago, they asked the NFL team writers for the teams that could potentially be involved in a Kirk Cousins Sweepstakes to make theoretical contract offers for Cousins and then determined which team would be the best fit. Their choice was. . .drum roll. . .the Jacksonville Jaguars. But that’s not going to be happening at this point, it wouldn’t appear.

We’ve still heard nothing on the quarterback front from the Vikings, and we’re nearly halfway through the allotted period for using the Franchise and Transition tags on players before the start of free agency. If the team doesn’t use the tag and heads into the open market with nobody under contract, at least they’ll be competing against one less team.