DENVER -- In the first of likely multiple maneuvers this offseason under new general manager George Paton, the Broncos cut cornerback A.J. Bouye on Wednesday, a source confirmed to Denver7.
The move saves the Broncos $11.689 million in cap space with no dead money, and was a formality after the NFL suspended the veteran for six games, including the first two in 2021. Acquired from Jacksonville to replace Chris Harris Jr., Bouye never gained traction. He hurt his shoulder in the season opener, suffered a concussion on a friendly fire hit from Kareem Jackson then struggled with consistency when he returned before the league banned him for PED use in December.
Decisions loom with multiple veterans as the Broncos aim to carve out money for free agent safety Justin Simmons and defensive end Shelby Harris.
Defensive lineman Jurrell Casey could face a similar fate to Bouye, though no decision has been made. Casey provided leadership on the field and in the locker room. However, he played only three games after suffering a torn biceps tendon. Casey has no guarantees remaining in his contract in 2021, and it would appear unlikely the Broncos would keep him at his $11.61 million salary. Can something be worked out or his deal restructured to keep him in Denver? No decision has been made.
There is also the cloud of uncertainty hanging over eight-time Pro Bowler Von Miller's future. He is due $18 million this season with a $4.225 million dead cap hit if released. Miller is likely a first ballot Hall of Famer and a lock for the franchise's Ring of Fame. However, he missed all of last season after dislocating an ankle tendon, and finished with eight sacks in 2019, his lowest total since 2013. Miller turns 32 next month.
In seven starts, Bouye has 23 tackles and zero interceptions. He showed flashes of why the Broncos thought he could revive his career after struggling in Jacksonville following a 2017 Pro Bowl berth. Injuries kept him from creating any momentum after a strong training camp.
"He had a choppy season," coach Vic Fangio said in December.
Though anticipated, the Bouye decision amplifies the focus on the Broncos landing one or two starting cornerbacks in the draft or free agency. While the free agent class is tepid -- Mike Hilton and Desmond King are interesting names -- the Broncos could have their choice of the top corner with the ninth overall pick. Several mocks project Denver to select either Alabama's Patrick Surtain III or Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley.