A.J. Bouye

Broncos Release A.J. Bouye

We’ve got one of our first big cuts of the young offseason. The Broncos are releasing cornerback A.J. Bouye, a source told Mike Klis of Denver 9 News (Twitter link).

It ends an unceremonious run in Denver for Bouye, after the Broncos traded a fourth-round pick for him last March. Injuries limited him to only seven games this past season, all of which were starts. The move means the team will save the non-guaranteed $11.7MM he was owed for this upcoming season, and new GM George Paton clearly wasn’t about to pay his excessive salary. An UDFA back in 2013, Bouye had a couple of really solid years with the Texans which he parlayed into a five-year, $67.5MM deal from the Jaguars in March of 2017.

Things went well initially, as he was a second-team All-Pro and had six interceptions in his first year in Jacksonville. Things went south quickly after that (as they did for that entire Jags defense), and he had only one interception in each of the next two seasons.

In addition to the injuries, Bouye was also hit with a six-game PED suspension back in December. He’ll still be sidelined for the first two games of the 2021 season, which could complicate things when looking for his next contract this spring. That being said he’s still only 29, and there should be significant interest in the established starter.

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NFL Suspends Broncos’ A.J. Bouye

WEDNESDAY, 9:51am: Bouye has been officially suspended for six games, per a league announcement. He’ll miss the final four games of this season, plus the first two games of 2021. He’ll also lose out on $4.59MM in salary, taking a chunk out of the remainder of his five year, $67.5MM deal.

TUESDAY, 2:05pm: It looks like yet another high profile player is about to be suspended. Broncos cornerback A.J. Bouye is facing a PED suspension, Mike Klis of Denver 9 News tweets. Benjamin Allbright of KOA News Radio was first to report the news (Twitter link).

Interestingly, both reporters indicate that Bouye’s suspension is related to the ones the Texans’ Will Fuller and Bradley Robey were hit with last week. It sounds like the contention is that all three players were using the same doctor or trainer who gave them banned substances without their knowledge. It’s impossible to say what will happen with this bizarre situation, although Albright indicated that legal action is coming.

For now though, it’s a brutal blow to a Denver defense that just can’t catch a break. Already without big name players like Von Miller and Jurrell Casey, among many others, they also just placed top corner Bryce Callahan on injured reserve. With Bouye now hitting the shelf as well, they’ll be very thin at cornerback.

Bouye missed a little over a month with a shoulder injury he suffered in Week 1, but has started every game since returning. An undrafted free agent in 2013, Bouye quickly broke out with the Texans. That earned him a five-year, $67.5MM contract from the Jaguars during the 2017 offseason. He picked off six passes that year and was a second-team All-Pro, although his play declined a bit after that.

This past March Jacksonville shipped him to Denver as part of their rebuild in exchange for a fourth-round pick. The UCF product is under contract for 2021, although the Broncos can get out of it pretty easily if they want to. He turned 29 back in August.

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Broncos To Activate A.J. Bouye From IR

The Broncos will still be without their best players when they face the Chiefs Sunday, with Von Miller, Courtland Sutton and Jurrell Casey either out for the season or most likely (in Miller’s case) shelved until 2021. But they will be healthier on defense this week.

Vic Fangio said Friday that A.J. Bouye and defensive end Dre’Mont Jones will be activated from IR ahead of Denver’s home game against Kansas City. Bouye has been out since leaving the Broncos’ Week 1 loss with a shoulder injury. Despite the injuries, Denver’s defense ranks sixth in DVOA. Though, the Chiefs will certainly test the unit.

Denver acquired Bouye from Jacksonville this offseason, sending the Jaguars a fourth-round pick for the former Pro Bowler. Bouye has played just 28 snaps this season. The Broncos have relied on 2019 free agency acquisition Bryce Callahan, who has stayed healthy thus far after missing all of last season, and third-round rookie Michael Ojemudia at corner in Bouye’s absence.

Jones suffered a PCL strain and a bone bruise in his knee in Week 2 but will come off the team’s IR when first eligible. The 2019 third-round pick will be expected to play a key role going forward, with Casey out for the season. Jones recorded 3.5 sacks and an interception as a backup last year.

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Broncos Place CB A.J. Bouye On IR

The Broncos have placed starting CB A.J. Bouye on injured reserve, per the league’s transaction wire. As such, he will miss at least the next three weeks of action.

Bouye suffered a dislocated shoulder during Monday night’s loss to the Titans. As Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network tweeted yesterday, the team was hopeful that the one-time Pro Bowler would not miss much time, but the damage was too extensive to avoid a trip to IR. Luckily, under the modified rules for 2020, he will be eligible to return much sooner than he would have been in any other year.

Denver acquired Bouye via trade with the Jaguars in March, sending a 2020 fourth-round selection to Jacksonville in exchange. He ended up playing in just 28 snaps in his Broncos debut, but he made the most of that limited action, recording a pass defensed and generally looking like the player the team hoped it was getting.

In Bouye’s absence, third-round rookie Michael Ojemudia stepped up and performed well. And the Broncos also got a full game out of Bryce Callahan, who missed all of last season — his first in Denver — with a broken foot. Ojemudia and Callahan will continue to man the outside cornerback spots while Bouye is on the sidelines, as head coach Vic Fangio told the team’s official website.

The Broncos take on two potentially potent aerial attacks in their next two games against the Steelers and Buccaneers, though they will get something of a reprieve against the Jets in Week 4.

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Jaguars To Trade A.J. Bouye To Broncos

The Broncos have themselves a new cornerback. On Tuesday, GM John Elway struck a deal with the Jaguars to acquire A.J. Bouye, as Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Klis notes in a separate tweet that multiple teams were interested in trading for Bouye, but he preferred to be dealt to Denver, and Jacksonville GM Dave Caldwell made it happen.

In exchange, the Jaguars will receive a 2020 fourth-round pick (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). The trade will be officially processed on March 18, when the new league year kicks off.

Once finalized, the Broncos will assume the $13.4MM owed to him in 2020 and the $13.5MM coming to him in 2021. The Broncos will honor that deal “for now,” Klis writes, so it sounds like the Broncos may look to restructure the contract once all of the dust settles.

The deal, in all likelihood, will mark the end of Chris Harris‘ tenure in Denver. Harris is set for free agency and he was already preparing himself to move on. The arrival of Bouye all but seals it. This also means that the Broncos will be less bullish on this year’s crop of free agent CBs, which includes notables like James Bradberry, Josh Norman, Logan Ryan, and Byron Jones.

Bouye teamed with Jalen Ramsey two years ago to help form one of the most talented secondary units in the NFL and aid the Jags in their run to the AFC title game. Now, that whole group has been revamped.

Instead, the Jaguars are choosing to retool and they’ll have a bevy of draft picks to make that happen. With the trade, they’ll have ten picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, with six of those picks coming in the first four rounds and two in the first round. As Schefter (Twitter link) notes, they’ve also got nine picks in 2021. And, in both years, they’ve got two picks in Round 1 and Round 4. The Jaguars will also have more to spend – by dealing Bouye, the Jaguars have cleared an additional $11.4MM in cap space.

Last year, Bouye recorded 65 tackles and one interception for the Jaguars. Still, he didn’t fit the Jaguars’ plans – Jacksonville would have released Bouye if they didn’t find a deal for him, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears (via Twitter).

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AFC Notes: Jaguars, Patriots, Randall

The Jaguars will be without several players on Sunday against the Texans, Michael DiRocco of ESPN recaps on Twitter. S Ronnie Harrison is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. CB A.J. Bouye, WR Marqise Lee, DE Yannick Ngakoue and LT Cam Robinson have all already been ruled out of the contest.

Last week, Jacksonville lost starting QB Nick Foles, who suffered a broken left clavicle in Week 1 and has been placed on injured reserve. The franchise’s collective health has put a damper on what should have been a bounceback year for the Jags. As the team carries on in Houston, let’s take a look around the AFC:

  • The Patriots worked out several players ahead of their game against the Dolphins, a source tells Nick Underhill of The Athletic (Twitter link). OT Caleb Benenoch, NT Carl Davis, DT Willie Henry, DB Josh Jones and DB Adarius Pickett worked out for New England.
  • Browns S Damarious Randall has been ruled out of Monday’s game, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Randall showed up to Cleveland’s facility with a concussion and was placed in the concussion protocol.
  • A.J. Green, who injured his ankle during the Bengals‘ training camp, is out of his walking boot and feels like is he ahead of schedule in his recovery, as Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer relays. “I’m only six weeks out and I’m already walking,” Green said. “You never know what the next two weeks or three weeks are going to bring to where I can start back putting on shoes and actually running and doing some on the field stuff. You never know.”

Saints Had Interest In CB A.J. Bouye

The Saints expressed interest in cornerback A.J. Bouye during the NFL’s two-day legal tampering period, according to Herbie Teope of the Times-Picayune (Twitter link). It’s unclear how aggressively New Orleans pursued Bouye after that stretch, and Bouye eventually agreed to a five-year deal with the Jaguars.A.J. Bouye (Vertical)

Despite ranking 29th in DVOA against the pass in 2016, the Saints haven’t yet added a corner in free agency, but given that the club targeted Bouye (and Marcus Cooper) last week, it’s clear New Oreans is attempting to augment its secondary. The Saints haven’t given up on bringing in new defensive back talent, as the team is currently engaged in discussions with Patriots restricted free agent corner Malcolm Butler.

While the Saints have been active this offseason by signing Nick Fairley, Larry Warford, Ted Ginn, A.J. Klein, and others, Bouye would have been a much more significant addition, as the former Texans cornerback landed $67.5MM and $26MM guaranteed from Jacksonville. New Orleans was reportedly interested in the top available corner in 2016, as well, as the club targeted Josh Norman after his franchise tag was rescinded.

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Contract Details: Bennett, Bouye, Branch

Let’s take a look at the details of some recently-signed free agent contracts:

  • Martellus Bennett, TE (Packers): Three years, $20.25MM. $6.3MM guaranteed. Base salaries of $900K, $3.6MM, $5.65MM. $2MM roster bonus due on first day of 2018 league year. $600K in annual per-game roster bonuses. $$250K annual workout bonus (link via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).
  • A.J. Bouye, CB (Jaguars): Five years, $65MM. $26MM guaranteed. $10MM signing bonus. Base salaries of $3MM, $13MM, $13MM, $13MM, $13MM. $500K annual workout bonus (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Alan Branch, DT (Patriots): Two years, $8.45MM. $3MM guaranteed. $2MM signing bonus. Annual $400K workout and weight bonus of $400K each. $3.55MM available via not-likely-to-be-earned incentives (link via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com).
  • Ted Ginn, WR (Saints): Three years, $11MM. $3MM guaranteed. $3MM signing bonus. Base salaries of $2MM, $3MM, $2.5MM. 2018 $500K roster bonus. $500,000 aviailve vie playtime, catches incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Tanner Purdum, LS (Jets): One year, $980K. $400K guaranteed (Twitter link via Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press).
  • Brandon Williams, DT (Ravens): Five years, $52.5MM. $27.5MM guaranteed. $12.5MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Jeff Zriebec of the Baltimore Sun).
  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB (Falcons): One year, $775K (minimum salary) (Twitter link via Wilson).

A.J. Bouye, Alshon Jeffery Didn’t Consider Signing With Bears

The Bears will emerge from the opening of free agency having added Mike Glennon, Dion Sims, Markus Wheaton and Will Demps, but Thursday didn’t go according to plan for the franchise, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

A.J. Bouye (vertical)

Chicago attempted to use its boatload of cap space to sign more established players, including top cornerback Stephon Gilmore and A.J. Bouye and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, but the team swung and missed on all counts. While the Bears looked like the favorites to ink Gilmore as recently as Tuesday, he instead joined the Patriots on a mega-deal. Meanwhile, prior to landing his own enormous payday with the Jaguars, Bouye didn’t even give the Bears serious consideration, a source told Biggs.

Like Bouye, Jeffery had no interest in signing with the Bears, multiple sources informed Biggs. He ultimately took a one-year, $14MM offer from the Eagles to leave Chicago, where he spent the first five seasons of his career and emerged as one of the NFL’s top pass catchers.

Should the Bears could continue scouring the open market for potential solutions at either position, some appealing options remain in a dwindling class of free agents. Logan Ryan, Prince Amukamara and Morris Claiborne are among the league’s still-unsigned corners, while Terrelle Pryor is the best wideout without a contract. It’s unclear, though, whether the Bears are interested in any of those players.

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Jaguars To Sign A.J. Bouye

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.

A.J. Bouye

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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