The Broncos identified cornerback as a priority this offseason. Coach Vic Fangio told Denver7 last week that he could see adding one in free agency and the draft. He should have included a trade as well. After a casting a wide net and weighing free agent prices, the Broncos have agreed to acquire Jacksonville corner A.J. Bouye for a fourth-round draft pick, per sources.
Bouye, 28, is under contract the next two years for $13 million per season, a notable factor given that Chris Harris Jr. will request more in free agency and that top target Byron Jones is expected to reset the market for the position at $16 million. Bouye's acquisition likely spells the end for Harris in Denver. He has five teams with strong interest -- the Lions, Jets, Raiders, Texans and Cowboys -- and was seeking an offer from the Broncos before hitting free agency. That remains doubtful with the arrival of Bouye. He is considered a versatile corner who should fit well in Fangio's defense, with the hope that the scheme will turn him back into an elite defender.
The deal cannot become official until March 18 on the first day of the new league year.
Bouye, like Harris an undrafted free agent, began his career in Houston before signing a five-year, $67.5 million deal with Jacksonville before the 2017 season. He has eight interceptions over the past three seasons. His best year came in 2016 when he posted six picks and made the Pro Bowl. He has struggled with consistency the past two seasons. Jacksonville is going through a transitional period and was considering releasing the veteran.
Bouye will join Bryce Callahan, if his foot heals, as the experienced corners in Fangio's defense. The Broncos are expected to add another corner in the draft as well. They used the fourth-round pick obtained in the Emmanuel Sanders deal to land Bouye.