Mason Thompson | March 5th, 2020
Earlier this week, the Jaguars agreed to trade starting cornerback, A.J. Bouye to the Denver Broncos for a fourth-round draft pick. This trade continues the trend of Jacksonville shipping off veteran players on expensive contracts. The Jaguars have now traded two starting cornerbacks this year after they shipped off Jalen Ramsey to the Rams for two first-round draft picks. This trade didn’t garner as much attention as I think it should’ve and I’ll explain why giving details of the trade, what it means for each team, how it affects each team’s strategies this offseason, and how each team’s future looks.
The Trade Itself
The Jaguars signed Bouye during the 2016 offseason to a five-year contract worth almost 68 million dollars. After a pro bowl year in 2017 where the Jaguars made the AFC Championship Game, he hasn’t been the same. Well, neither have the Jaguars, but we’ll get to that later.
The Broncos got a steal by getting a starting cornerback for a fourth-round pick. Let’s take a look at some of the most recent trades where a cornerback was involved.
- Raiders traded Gareon Conley to the Texans for 2020 third-round pick
- Jaguars traded Jalen Ramsey to the Rams for 2020, 2021 first-round picks and 2021 fourth-round pick
- Rams traded Marcus Peters to the Ravens for Kenny Young and a 2020 fifth-round pick
- Giants traded Eli Apple to the Saints for 2019 fourth-round pick and 2020 seventh-round pick
These are four of the biggest trades for the cornerback position in the last two years. Obviously, the Rams gave up a lot for Ramsey and they are paying for that. The Rams also gave Marcus Peters to the Ravens for a bag of potato chips. The other two trades are where things get interesting. To me, Bouye is a far better cornerback than Conley and Apple. Bouye’s contract is far more expensive than those of Apple and Conley, but the Texans gave up a third-round pick to give Conley a two-year audition to stay on the team, while Apple has been inconsistent in New Orleans.
Jaguars Offseason Plans
It’s being said that the Jaguars were going to eventually cut Bouye anyways. Now that he’s gone, the Jaguars are left with D.J. Hayden, Tre Herndon, and Parry Nickerson as their likely starters. In a division with Deandre Hopkins, T.Y. Hilton, and A.J. Brown, the Jaguars are going to need better cornerbacks than that. Fortunately for them, they have four first-round picks the next two years combined. They won’t be able to pick Jeffrey Okudah unless they trade up, but Kristian Fulton, C.J. Henderson, and Jeff Gladney are all in play at pick 20.
The Jaguars are also planning on franchise tagging star edge rusher, Yannick Ngakoue. Ngakoue says he wants nothing to do with the Jaguars but the Bouye trade clears over $11 million worth of cap space. It still seems like Ngakoue won’t be on the team next year. The Jaguars have needs all over the defense as well as at receiver, tight end, and interior offensive line. This is a weird move for Dave Caldwell and Doug Marrone, who are on the hot seat enough already.
Broncos Offseason Plans
With Chris Harris a rumor in trades since last April, the Broncos are most likely moving on from him with this trade. Bouye’s contract is big and Harris would likely want around the same amount, if not more. The Broncos could also end up franchise tagging him and end up trading him. Denver also has other cornerbacks with contracts expiring this offseason, as well as Bryce Callahan being a free agent after this season. They needed to make a move at the position and could still address the position early in the draft, potentially on day two.
With the addition of Bouye, the Broncos can look to other needs on day one. Denver switched to Drew Lock late in the season and he looked fantastic. Lock only really had two reliable weapons in Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant, as well as an inconsistent interior offensive line. The interior offensive line doesn’t have many players worth a selection on day one, but the Broncos could move on from Garett Bolles with the selection of a tackle at 15. The other spots the Broncos could look to are defensive line and wide receiver. At defensive line, Derrick Brown will most likely be gone, as well as Javon Kinlaw potentially. At wide receiver, however, the Broncos could end up with one of Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, or Henry Ruggs III to help Lock.
A Look Ahead
The Broncos are in a great position with a high cap number and a young offense that could add another playmaker. John Elway looks to have finally hit on a quarterback with Drew Lock and has done a good job drafting the last two years, adding Bradley Chubb, Courtland Sutton, Phillip Lindsay (UDFA), Noah Fant, Dalton Risner, and Lock. The Broncos are an up and coming offense with a top-notch defense in a tough division. The Chiefs just won the Super Bowl, the Raiders had the best draft besides the 49ers and have two first-round picks this year, and the Chargers have a good roster still, despite the fiasco at quarterback. With the potential of seven teams per conference in the playoffs, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Broncos sneaked in next year.
The Jaguars, meanwhile, are spinning out of control. They paid Nick Foles an enormous amount of money and are now looking to offload his contract just one year after handing him that contract in favor of Gardner Minshew. The team’s star edge rusher wants nothing to do with the team, Telvin Smith still hasn’t returned to the team, the cornerback room is a disaster now, and players have been told to stay away from Jacksonville on the open market. All this, combined with a General Manager and Head Coach on the hot seat, shows how much of a mess the organization is. It seems like ten years ago the Jaguars were in the AFC Championship with Aaron Colvin, Tashaun Gipson, Ramsey, Bouye, and Barry Church in their secondary, not three.
Caldwell has done an awful job drafting and has shipped off talented players. No players remain from the 2013 draft class, only two from the 2014 class, both have expiring contracts, one from the 2015 class, who also has an expiring contract, two from the 2016 class, one being a potential cap casualty and the other wants nothing to do with the team. Caldwell needs the draft of a lifetime to save his job. Good luck Jacksonville fans.
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