Cornerback A.J. Bouye cashed in on a career year and scored a lucrative five-year, $67.5 million deal, signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Bouye will be getting $26 million fully guaranteed and $13 million per year, according to Michael Wright.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport was the first to break the news on Twitter, with Adam Schefter confirming on Thursday afternoon.
Bouye started his career as an undrafted free agent, signing with the Houston Texans in 2013. He played a limited role in his first three years, but got a chance to shine in 2015 when injuries impacted the Texans’ depth chart.
Bouye had his breakout in 2016, setting career highs in tackles (63) and passes defended (16). He also ranked the No. 6 cornerback by Pro Football Focus, giving up just two touchdowns all year. Bouye had a star-making performance in the playoffs, picking off Connor Cook once and breaking up four passes in the Texans’ 27-14 Wild Card win over the Oakland Raiders. He also got an interception off Tom Brady and forced a fumble in the divisional round, although Houston eventually fell to the New England Patriots.
The Texans worked hard to retain their breakout cornerback, but a harried last-ditch effort to resign the dynamic defender fell short. Bouye’s agent informed the franchise the day free agency officially began that he would not be returning to the Lone Star State. Houston will instead turn to a draft class stacked with elite coverage prospects to fill the void left by this high-profile departure.
Bouye knew getting to this point wouldn’t be easy. “All that [I went through] instilled something in me, it gave me a chip on my shoulder,” Bouye told the MMQB’s Albert Breer. “When you’re a first-rounder, you have way more room to make mistakes, people make excuses for you, saying you’re growing or you’re learning. But as an undrafted guy, you have to be perfect.”
This is a risky contract for the Jaguars — there’s some reasonable concern that Bouye is a one-season wonder. On the other hand, he’s still just 25 years old and will be in his physical prime for a while. If he continues playing at a high level, he’ll be an asset for many years to come.
With his new contract, Bouye will be able to make plenty of purchases, but he’s not eyeing anything too significant. “Only thing I can think of is a truck with TVs in it,” Bouye told Breer. “Then my daughter won’t have to scream at me because she doesn’t have her headphones in. She watches ‘Frozen’ two times a day. It’d be good just to let her watch that in the truck in peace.”