Broncos news: AJ Bouye release saves cap, creates huge need

Denver Broncos news: AJ Bouye released after one season. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos news: AJ Bouye released after one season. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

The offseason has begun for Denver Broncos general manager George Paton, who just made perhaps his biggest bit of Broncos news yet.

According to Mike Klis, the team has released 2020 trade acquisition AJ Bouye, the team’s CB1 heading into last season. Bouye, a former Pro Bowl player and veteran, was acquired by the Broncos from the Jacksonville Jaguars last offseason for a fourth-round pick.

He ended up playing just seven games in his lone season with the Broncos, struggling with injuries before getting popped with a six-game suspension that will linger two games into the 2021 season.

Here’s Klis’ breaking news post for the report:

Although Bouye was only slated to make $11.7 million in 2021 because of his suspension, the Broncos will save every penny of his non-guaranteed $13.21875 million cap hit against their salary cap.

That would bring the Broncos’ updated 2021 cap space to over $32 million according to Over The Cap.

The news of Bouye’s release doesn’t come as a surprise. Klis reported in January that the Broncos clearing Bouye off the books for 2021 was a likelihood.

Considering the Broncos played the majority of the 2020 season without Bouye anyway, it’s not like the team is going to have to scramble to replace him here. The vision for the 2021 offseason will likely remain the same and while cornerback remains an area the team will almost certainly address in the 2021 NFL Draft, the 2021 free agent crop at cornerback is plenty deep.

I took a look at a dozen options that the Broncos could consider (among many more) before other teams even start to make salary cap cuts.

The price point of just over $13 million is not a bad one for high-level cornerback play. The problem is, the Broncos obviously cannot count on Bouye to play a full slate of games even with two already off the table because of his suspension to start next season.

What will the team’s next move be? They are undoubtedly interested in keeping safety Justin Simmons around for the long-term but can the two sides come to an agreement on numbers?

What will happen with Jurrell Casey? Von Miller?

There are a lot of big items still on the agenda for George Paton and the front office but it is clear that things are moving along this offseason for the team in desperate need of a bounce-back in 2021.