AJ Bouye is at or near the top of everyone’s free agent cornerback list. Everyone thinks the Packers have to get a corner in free agency this year after the dumpster fire showing of 2016. Setting aside Ted Thompson’s inability to spend big in free agency, this seems like a perfect match.
But I’m a little skeptical.
After going undrafted, this guy sat on the bench for three years, then started part of 2016 and totalled a whopping 1 interception on the season.
Sure he looked good in coverage, but that can be easy when you have a defense with Jaeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus, Brian Cushing, Vince Wilfork, and even JJ Watt (before he got hurt) in the box, with veteran help like Kareem Jackson, Quintin Demps, and Johnathan Joseph surrounding you in the secondary.
You know how the Packers have a great pass blocking offensive line, which means Rodgers can dance around and wait forever until, eventually, someone breaks free from coverage? AJ Bouye was the opposite of that. His front seven dominates up front and he just has to stick on his man long enough for the pressure to get home – which isn’t very long.
It takes a lot longer for the Packers pressure to get home. I’m not positive AJ Bouye is going to single-handedly turn the ship around and start serving up coverage sacks for this defense.
Remember Jumal Rolle? He flashed on the Packers practice squad and went to Houston in 2014. He had two picks in his first game, then got another a few weeks later and looked like an ascending young player. In 2015, he played in 8 games for 2 teams and had a grand total of 1 tackle. He hasn’t played since.
This shows the impact that Houston’s front seven has on making its corners look good.
Could Bouye continue to develop and ascend? Sure, so could Damarious Randall or Quentin Rollins – they both had one good year, too. Since Bouye is potentially the most expensive free agent in the 2017 crop, I wouldn’t want to bet the salary cap on him and introduce potential locker room tension (since he would most likely become the Packers second-highest paid player), to find out how he would fare in unfamiliar new surroundings.
Good thing Ted is so skilled in resisting temptation.