With March 9th approaching, teams are positioning their free agent targets and draft boards for the NFL Draft and, in Houston, the spotlight will continue to shine on A.J. Bouye and his future with the Texans. Bouye, who is coinsidered possibly the top cornerback to hit the market in 2017, is in position to cash in after playing for the league minimum over the past four seasons as a rookie free agent from UCF.
“I’ve been through a lot here with the organization, a lot of ups and downs,” Bouye noted regarding his four years with the Texans at the end of the off-season. “But they never gave up on me. I’m appreciative of that. Me and the DBs especially were very close. Like I said the day before, I just would like to be back. We’ll see what happens, though.”One on One with A.J. Bouye
Bouye was courted prior to the 2016 season by the Chicago Bears and Tennessee Titans as a restricted free agent but nothing materilaized by the start of the season. The Texans even tried to tie up Bouye to an extension prior to the season, reportedly a 3-year deal worth $5-6 million a year, which was declined.
“I talked to my agent, and I’m not mad that they probably won’t franchise me, just because of how much the franchise tag is for a corner,” Bouye said to Albert Breer in his MMQB article (Read Here). “It’s a lot. At the same time, the situation in Houston, money-wise, there’s no telling what’s going to happen. At the end of the day, I know they want to bring me back but they have other things they have to address, which I totally understand.”
The franchise tag will be in the $14 million range for cornerbacks when the salary cap is set and Bouye’s potential contract is going to land in the $12.5 to $13 million a year category. The Texans have a big decision sitting in front of them: tie up one of their most improved players in the last four seasons or use the potential money that it would take to sign Bouye to fill essential rosters spots through free agency like offensive tackle, tight end, or another cornerback.
The name of the game in the NFL is allocating cap space to build a top end roster in all 53-spots. Bouye is no doubt turning into a top player in the NFL but his situation could make it hard to continue addressing the roster issues in multiple spots.
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