Entering this season as a relative unknown, Texans fourth-year corner A.J. Bouye may have moved himself in position to sign a lucrative NFL contract for the first time. A UDFA in 2013 that started just eight games total before 2016, Bouye has stood out on a team that made far bigger investments at corner. A deal for Bouye could cost a team as much as $8MM-per-year in 2017, the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson notes.
Wilson describes a growing buzz around the physical defender, who could join Trumaine Johnson, Prince Amukamara, Stephon Gilmore and Darius Butler among the list of cornerbacks who stand tot be UFAs. Bouye rates behind only Chris Harris, Malcolm Butler and Aqib Talib among corners this season, according to Pro Football Focus, and will have the chance to stand out on a national stage in a home playoff game.
The Texans have two corners who stand to make more than $7MM next season in Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph. Separating from Jackson would be more difficult financially than Joseph if Houston wished to retain Bouye since $4.5MM in dead money would match the amount the team could save by making that move. Houston stands to have $17MM-plus in cap space prior to making any offseason moves.
PFR’s Dallas Robinson ranked Bouye ninth among all players on his free agent power rankings.
Here’s more from the AFC.
- Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III suffered a concussion on Saturday, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. His status for Week 17 is not immediately clear. RG3 missed most of this season with a shoulder injury but did become the only Browns QB to start in a win. However, the Browns gave Cody Kessler — the expected Week 17 starter, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal — several starts this season and have a decision to make on Griffin. He’s due a relatively small $750K roster bonus in March and would count $9.25MM against Cleveland’s 2017 cap. The Browns could afford that, but Griffin didn’t give them much reason to trust him in 2016.
- Andy Dalton confirmed a Saturday report that ownership made the decision to yank A.J. Green from the Bengals‘ Week 16 game plan, sending the wideout home for Christmas at his request, Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. “He felt like he was in position [to help the team with a return] and the ownership made a decision,” Dalton said. “Would I have loved to have him out there? Absolutely. But the decision was made.”
- Bryce Petty also is uncertain for Week 17 after hearing a pop in his shoulder during the Jets‘ loss to the Patriots. The second-year passer left the stadium with his shoulder in a sling and will undergo a Christmas Day MRI, Daryl Slater of NJ.com reports. Ryan Fitzpatrick could be called on to make one more start for Gang Green in the event the team holds Petty out against the Bills. Todd Bowles didn’t dismiss a Christian Hackenberg start, but the rookie has not played in a game this season.
- By intercepting his fifth pass of the season today, Raiders safety Reggie Nelson earned a $250K incentive bonus, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. In the first season of a two-year contract with Oakland, Nelson made the Pro Bowl for a second straight year and now has 13 INTs in the past two seasons.
Zach Links contributed to this report