Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye expected to hit free agency

The Kansas City Chiefs might have another free agent corner to consider if rumors are true that A.J. Bouye will be released for cap concerns.

For the umpteenth consecutive offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs have significant work to do when it comes to constructing their secondary going forward. While this last year’s efforts were good enough to win a Super Bowl title, the Chiefs still have only two cornerbacks under contract worth mentioning at this point for 2020, let alone beyond: Charvarius Ward and Rashad Fenton.

Bashaud Breeland is set to hit free agency in a few weeks. Kendall Fuller will do the same. Keith Reaser and Mo Claiborne are also unrestricted free agents. Alex Brown is a fringe roster player, and Chris Lammons is on the practice squad. But neither should be counted on moving forward.

This means the Chiefs are likely to add 3-4 more cornerbacks to the roster between now and training camp in order to create the sort of competition necessary to compete for a title once more. Some of this might come through the draft, but given the fact that the Chiefs have only 5 total selections, it makes sense to hit the open market as well.

Enter A.J. Bouye, a likely cap casualty for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Bouye still has two years remaining on a five-year, $67.5M deal signed back in 2017, which means he has cap hits of well over $15M each of the next two seasons. The Jags could use the cap space, per Jags writer John Oehser, and Bouye is one of the most obvious candidates.

Oehser isn’t the only one who thinks Bouye is bound for the open market. Alfie Crow over at Big Cat Country says he would make the same decision given the cost to employ Bouye is simply too much for the franchise to bear at this point.

For the Chiefs, the potential entrance of Bouye into the free agent market is helpful for a number of reasons. First, the more options there are in free agency, the more that a buyer’s market begins to emerge. The prices for desired options will drop in the wake of overwhelming supply, and Bouye’s entry can only help in that way. In short, even if the Chiefs don’t like Bouye as an option, his presence drops the ceiling for others like Breeland and Fuller, assuming the team might want them back.

However it’s also possible that the Chiefs would be interested in Bouye as a new veteran import to lock down an outside spot opposite Ward. Bouye earned low marks from Pro Football Focus, but he was quite outspoken this season about the poor defensive alignments and adjustments. Surprisingly, the Jags are standing by their defensive coordinator Todd Wash after a subpar season.

But Bouye was granted such a heavy contract in the last few years for good reason, and even this year, he was better than what you might read. Check out this read from Demetrius Harvey for good insight, but Bouye was the victim of little help, poor coaching, and the drama surrounding Jalen Ramsey‘s exit. He also put up solid performances against Michael Thomas of the Saints and DeAndre Hopkins of the Texans.

Given that Bouye is still only 28, he’s likely going to receive multi-year offers in free agency. Maybe the Chiefs are willing to go there or maybe they stick to their guns of recent years and keep the veteran one-year contracts flowing in as they slowly draft for depth and developmental talent.

Either way, Bouye’s potential free agency is only going to help one way or the other.

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