JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars appear to have their starting secondary in place now with the signing of Houston cornerback A.J. Bouye. With cornerback Jalen Ramsey and free safety Tashaun Gipson returning from last season and the addition of free agent safety Barry Church (who agreed to terms on Wednesday), Bouye was the missing piece.
Terms: Five years, $67.5 million, with $26 million guaranteed.
ESPN 150 ranking: No. 6
Grade: A. The Jaguars needed to replace Prince Amukamara and wanted to upgrade if possible, and they believe they have with Bouye. He was one of their top targets in free agency and they wasted little time in reaching an agreement. Did they overpay? Of course, but that’s the reality in free agency, especially at a premium position like cornerback.
What it means: The Jaguars now have one of the better cornerback duos in the league with Bouye and Ramsey. The 6-foot, 191-pound Bouye, who was Pro Football Focus’ third-ranked corner behind Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib, became Houston’s best cornerback last season after spending most of his time as a backup in his first three seasons in the NFL. Bouye is one of the rare players who went from being undrafted (he didn’t get a combine invitation and was hurt for his pro day at UCF) to the upper echelon of the NFL, and those players generally always seem to have a chip on their shoulder and want to continually prove themselves. Landing Bouye also means the Jaguars can keep Aaron Colvin inside as the nickelback, which is where they believe he fits best.
What’s the risk: Bouye doesn’t have a lot of experience as a starter. He wasn’t even a full-time starter last season until Johnathan Joseph, Kevin Johnson and Kareem Jackson went down with injuries, and he managed just one interception -- though he did have 16 pass breakups -- in 2016. He had three picks in 2014 and two in 2015 as a part-time starter (eight starts in those two seasons combined). Did his interceptions drop because teams avoided throwing at him? Is he a one-year wonder or an ascending player? Most believe he’s ascending, and if that’s the case, this was a signing with minimal risk.