Per Mike Klis of 9News, veteran cornerback A.J. Bouye will be released by the Denver Broncos after just one season with the team. With the LA Chargers needing help at the cornerback position, Bouye appears to be a natural free-agent target for the team.
After all, Bouye won’t be expensive after playing just seven games for the Broncos in 2020. On paper, it seems like a perfect fit for the Chargers to bring Bouye in on a small flier with the hope that he could be close to what he was in Jacksonville.
Too bad paper isn’t reality and the reality of the situation is that the LA Chargers should stay as far away from A.J. Bouye as possible. I get he is a big name, but as a Charger fan, I personally would argue that you should hope there isn’t any interest from Tom Telesco.
Why the LA Chargers should avoid A.J. Bouye:
The elephant in the room is that Bouye physically cannot play the entire 17-game season in 2021. Bouye has two games carrying over from a six-game PED suspension in 2020, meaning that he is forced to miss Week 1 and 2.
That is not enough of a reason for the Chargers to avoid Bouye, though. I don’t think that two games at the start of the season would be enough to sway Telesco from pursuing him if he was really interested.
The reason why the Chargers should avoid Bouye is that he is not good anymore. I feel like a broken record at this point, as I have written this time and time again, but cornerbacks age really quickly in the NFL.
One year they are great, next year they are bad. The line for this regression is usually the age of 30 and Bouye is entering his age 30 season in 2021.
Plus, he has not even been that great over the last few seasons. While it is an imperfect measuring stick, Bouye posted just a 55.6 overall defensive grade on Pro Football Focus last season with a 52.4 coverage grade. His coverage grade in 2019 was 55.4. He is already on the decline.
Over the last two seasons, opposing quarterbacks have had a 103.8 and 102.9 passer rating while targeting Bouye.
Look at the situation the Chargers are currently in. The secondary has holes because of the regression of two veteran corners in Hayward and Chris Harris — so much to the point where both players could legitimately be cut this offseason to save salary cap space.
You know what doesn’t fit an old secondary that has holes? Adding another old cornerback on the decline!
Sure, we could talk ourselves into this all day by saying it will be a cheap contract and just a flier and it is a low-risk gamble. There are two problems with this line of thinking. One, by adding Bouye, the Chargers would likely feel as if cornerback was a smaller need and maybe not pick one as high in the NFL Draft as they should.
Why do you think the team didn’t draft a corner in 2020 after we all knew they should have? Maybe because of some overconfidence in Chris Harris?
The other issue is that any snaps Bouye plays takes away from snaps that any drafted corner may play instead. I would rather have a struggling rookie out there than a struggling veteran because at least the rookie can learn things and get better. The veteran is just going to get worse.
The LA Chargers signing A.J. Bouye would be one of the most frustrating moves they could make this entire offseason.