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Further Confirmation Texans Won’t Use Franchise Tag On A.J. Bouye

Texans fans react to the reality that the team’s best corner in 2016 should soon be fielding offers from other teams.

Wild Card Round - Oakland Raiders v Houston Texans
About to get PAID.
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Two weeks ago, Aaron Wilson reported that your Houston Texans were unlikely to utilize the franchise tag on free-agent-cornerback-to-be A.J. Bouye. This morning, Adam Schefter is hearing the same thing.

In his phenomenal film breakdown of how Bouye evolved into the best player on the Texans’ defense last year, Matt Weston was unequivocal in his belief that Houston had to franchise Bouye:

All praise aside, I wouldn’t sign A.J. Bouye to a long term contract. Nope. Not at all. Not yet. This was one great year. A sample size of one. You don’t want to overpay and be stuck with a worthless glob, or a fat sunk cost on your roster. There is no way to know if this was a record year, or whether there ismore of the same to come in the future. Despite Bouye being incredible in 2016, it’s uncertain if 2017 is going to be the same.

The other problem with signing Bouye to a long-term deal is that with him as an unrestricted free agent, you are competing with everyone else on the market. At 25, and being an undrafted sea turtle that made the perilous voyage across the ocean, I’m sure there will be no warm and fuzzy discount. It’s likely Bouye is going to want to maximize what he makes when he signs this contract to make up for lost dollars.

Cleveland ($106.5 million), Jacksonville ($74.9 million), Tennessee ($62.3 million), Washington ($58.8 million), Indianapolis ($54.2 million), Chicago ($51.4 million), Carolina ($47.4 million), Miami ($42.4 million), Green Bay ($40.9 million), and New Orleans ($29.5 million) are all teams with money to spend and have a “HELP WANTED” sign hanging up in their secondary. Bouye is a scheme neutral player. It doesn’t matter what type of defense a prospective teams runs. He has already shown he can run it. He would be an upgrade for any of these teams. For Houston, why would you want to get in a bidding war with teams that can outspend you for a player who had one great year? You don’t.

Moving forward, I would pay the $14 million and put Bouye on the franchise tag. The Texans have indicated they probably won’t do that, but that’s what I would do. Houston wouldn’t be stuck with Bouye if he is a one-hit wonder, and the tag would remove him from unrestricted free agency and the competition of the open market. If Bouye is just as good all over again, Brock Osweiler’s malodorous corpse becomes cremains next year, and Houston will have the cap space to sign him without having to cajole the books.

Not surprisingly, Weston’s not particularly excited about the prospect of Bouye hitting the open market.

What’s your reaction to Schefter’s confirmation of Wilson’s earlier report? Do you believe the Texans are making a mistake in not tagging Bouye? Or is this simply the natural result of limited cap space?