Jacksonville’s offseason is just starting to heat up.
A day after NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Jaguars plan to use the franchise tag on edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue, Jacksonville has agreed to send cornerback A.J. Bouye to the Denver Broncos, per NFL Network’s James Palmer.
Jacksonville will receive a 2020 fourth-round selection in return in the cap-space clearing move, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported, per a source informed of the deal.
Bouye arrived as a laudable free-agent signing in 2017, pairing with Jalen Ramsey to become one of the league’s most exciting young cornerback tandems. Both played well but are now gone, as Ramsey forced his way out to Los Angeles via trade during the 2019 season and Bouye will soon experience the same form of western departure.
Ramsey reacted to the news with two tweets:
Free all my dawgs lol
Financially, this makes plenty of sense. Bouye carried a cap number of $15.4 million in 2020, and with the Jaguars owning just $21.4 million in projected cap space (per Over The Cap) before accounting for Ngakoue’s impending tag number, it was time to create some room on Jacksonville’s books. That meant either cutting Bouye for a net savings of over $11 million, or shipping him out for an asset in return. A fourth-round pick is worthwhile, considering they might have said goodbye for nothing at all.
From Denver’s perspective, this could be a strong signal that Chris Harris Jr.’s time in Denver is finished. The 30-year-old is headed to free agency after striking a new one-year deal in 2019, and it appears as if Bouye will be his replacement. Denver has the space — $70 million in projected room — to take on Bouye’s contract, which will account for about the same cap number in 2021 as well.
At 28 years old, it’s an ideal contract for the Broncos to carry for a player who will be expected to be a key piece of their defense. For a fourth-round pick in April’s draft, that’s a good deal for both sides.
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