The Jaguars and cornerback A.J. Bouye are have reached agreement on a contract, per Ian Rapoport and James Palmer of NFL.com (Twitter link). Prior to the deal, Bouye was still deciding between the Jaguars, Titans, and Bears, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (Twitter link). The agreement was finalized on Thursday after the official start of free agency, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
Schefter tweets that the deal is for five years and $67.5MM, with $26MM guaranteed. That means the cornerback will be making around $13.5MM annually. Rapoport adds that Bouye will be receiving $44MM over the first three years of the contract.
An undrafted free agent out of Central Florida in 2013, Bouye had started only eight games during his first three years in the league, but was pressed into duty in 2016 and ended up starting 11 contests. During that time, Bouye managed one interception and 16 passes defensed, and graded as the NFL’s third-best corner behind Denver’s Chris Harris and Aqib Talib, per Pro Football Focus. In the most recent edition of PFR’s Top 50 Free Agents, Bouye ranked first overall.
One of the more intrguing free agents in recent memory thanks to his lack of experience, Bouye generated quite a market during the legal tampering period. The Colts, Titans, Bears, Buccaneers, Jets, and Eagles were all thought to be interested in the 25-year-old Bouye, who is expected to command north of $12MM annually. The Texans also wanted to retain Bouye, but Houston couldn’t keep up with the other offers flowing Bouye’s way.
The Jaguars are no strangers to defensive spending in free agency. In 2016, Jacksonville added Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson on top-of-the-market deals, and this offseason the club has already inked Barry Church and is in the running for Calais Campbell, though the latter is now deciding between the Jaguars and Broncos.
Jacksonville’s pass defense ranked 12th in DVOA last year, a ranking that only figures to improve following the addition of Bouye, who will team with 2016 first-round pick Jalen Ramsey to form a lethal (and youthful) cornerback duo.
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