<
>

Texans concerned about losing A.J. Bouye to Eagles

According to ESPN's Ed Werder, the Houston Texans are concerned about losing cornerback A.J. Bouye to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Bouye is considered one of the top free-agent corners on the market. Though he had just one regular-season interception, his 16 pass breakups ranked second in the NFL, per ESPN Stats & Information. Bouye allowed just 54.5 percent of the throws in his direction to be completed last season for an opponent passer rating of 73.1, according to Pro Football Focus. He added two interceptions in the playoffs, including one against Tom Brady in a 34-16 divisional-round loss to the New England Patriots.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz values confidence and physicality, and those are two elements that are a strength for Bouye (6-foot, 191 pounds), who added 10 pounds heading into this past season and improved in press coverage and against the run (63 tackles).

Just 25, Bouye has plenty of prime years left. The Eagles want young players as they build a nucleus around quarterback Carson Wentz, so he is a fit from that perspective.

He is expected to come at a high cost, however. Most projections have Bouye making north of $10 million per season. The Eagles, while expected to shed salary over the coming days and weeks, currently have about $8.5 million in cap space, the fourth-lowest amount in the NFL. This move would run counter to the desired approach of building through the draft and spending modestly in free agency.

But it would also address a major need. The Eagles could lose both of their starting corners this year -- Leodis McKelvin was cut and Nolan Carroll is a free agent -- and Bouye would cure a lot of what ailed the secondary in 2016.

While Bouye comes into free agency off a very strong season, there is risk involved given his lack of a track record. An undrafted free agent out of UCF, he started the season as the team's fourth corner and emerged only after the injury bug hit the position. He started a total of eight games in his first three seasons in the league, posting five interceptions and 16 passes defensed over that span.

It would be a bold move, but one Eagles executive vice president of football Howie Roseman apparently is willing to make.