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2017 NFL Free Agency: Texans Unlikely To Tag A.J. Bouye

BRB examines the pros and cons of the Texans using the franchise tag or signing unrestricted-free-agent-to-be A.J. Bouye to a new contract.

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans
He could be doing this for another team soon.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Mr. Dunsmore included this story by Aaron Wilson in today’s Newswire, but in a world where your Houston Texans don’t have a ton of potential impact players set for free agency, this deserves a separate post.

Wilson writes:

Although the Texans ideally would like to retain free agent cornerback A.J. Bouye and hammer out a contract extension, a relatively tight salary-cap situation is expected to preclude them from designating him as their franchise player.

The Texans have roughly $25 million in projected salary-cap space and it would cost just over $14 million to retain Bouye under a one-year franchise tender, all of which would count against the salary cap for the 2017 fiscal year.


A deal for Bouye is expected to be expensive. Top cornerbacks average between $12 million to $14 million annually.

The Texans have historically eschewed using the franchise tag.

They've used it only once in the history of the franchise, assigning it to cornerback Dunta Robinson in 2009 at a cost of a one-year, $9.957 million tender.

As the 2016 season went on and A.J. Bouye continued to shine, I became resigned to the fact that he had likely played himself out of Houston. On one hand, I’m thrilled for Bouye; players have a finite time to earn, and I love that Bouye is poised to sign a monster deal that could take care of his family for generations. On the other hand, as a Texans fan, it’s sobering. Seeing a young player who transformed himself from a bottom-of-the-roster depth piece into a legitimate starter and difference-maker walk for greener pastures is not fun.

From a cap perspective, franchising Bouye—at least until other cap maneuvering was made—would greatly hamper what the Texans could do in free agency this season. Of course, committing $14 million to Bouye for a single season wouldn’t exist in a vacuum. There are plenty of things the team could do to tinker with contracts of other veterans (Johnathan Joseph? Brian Cushing? Duane Brown?) to create cap space.

Plus, there’s something to be said for not throwing a multi-year deal at a player who’s coming off one big season. NFL history is littered with bad contracts that were given to players who were unable to replicate what they did in their walk year.

All that said, what’s your feeling on the matter? Do you believe the Texans find a way to keep A.J. Bouye, whether it’s through the franchise tag or a new contract? Or do you think Bouye is harassing wide receivers and tight ends for another team next season?