Four years ago, A.J. Bouye was part of a talented defense that spearheaded the Jaguars' improbable run to a conference championship game appearance. Bouye will try to be part of a similar run in Carolina, where he has agreed to terms with the Panthers.
The 29-year-old cornerback will join a young defense that includes defensive end Brian Burns, linebacker Shaq Thompson, safety Jeremy Chinn, cornerbacks Donte Jackson and Troy Pride Jr. and defensive linemen Derrick Brown and Yetur Gross-Matos. During Matt Rhule's first season in Carolina, the Panthers' defense finished 18th in the NFL in scoring and passing, 20th in rushing, 25th in third down efficiency and 28th in red zone efficiency.
In Bouye, the Panthers are getting a nine-year veteran who made 69 starts during his first eight years in the NFL. In 100 career regular-season games, Bouye has tallied 14 interceptions and 72 passes defensed. After starting in just two games during his first three seasons, Bouye became a starter after moving from Houston to Jacksonville in 2017. He earned Pro Bowl honors that season while making a career-high six interceptions. His play that season helped Jacksonville finish several plays short of advancing to the Jaguars' first Super Bowl.
Bouye spent two more seasons in Jacksonville before spending the 2020 season with the Broncos. Injuries and a six-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs limited him to just seven games last season. Bouye, who was released by the Broncos in February, still has two games remaining on his suspension.