The Denver Broncos made their first major offseason roster decision by releasing veteran cornerback A.J. Bouye. Bouye had a year left on his contract with the Broncos and was owed a base salary of $13 million in 2021.
Denver traded a 2020 fourth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Bouye last March, as the Jaguars wished to get out of the remaining two years and $30,937,500 on his contract. Bouye was still one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the game at the time of the trade and didn't have a strong first season in Denver, finishing with just 23 tackles, six passes defensed, and zero interceptions in seven games. Opposing quarterbacks had a 108.4 passer rating last season targeting Bouye, who allowed 65.7% of the passes thrown his way to be caught and for two touchdowns. He was also suspended six games for violating the league's PED policy.
This was coming off a final year in Jacksonville where Bouye finished with 65 tackles, eight passes defensed and an interception in 14 games. He also struggled in coverage, allowing 60 catches for 855 yards and three touchdowns as opposing quarterbacks completed 65.2% of their passes and had a 101.5 passer rating when targeting Bouye.
Per Over The Cap, the Broncos will save $13,218,750 by cutting Bouye -- giving them $32.73 million in available cap space this offseason. The Broncos have a quarterback conundrum they need to resolve this offseason regarding Drew Lock, as they have more than enough money to acquire a veteran starter via trade or sign of the available signal-callers in free agency. There are a few solid quarterbacks available looking for a starting job that can be had on a one-year deal: Mitchell Trubisky, Andy Dalton, Jacoby Brissett, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, and Tyrod Taylor are the notable names -- but Carson Wentz and many other veterans are available via trade.
Denver has flexibility with the salary cap with the release of Bouye, which will give new general manager George Paton multiple options when free agency begins in March.