Cornerback is quietly one of the Cincinnati Bengals’ biggest needs entering free agency. William Jackson III is potentially looking at a big payday, and the Bengals don’t seem too urgent to bring him back.
The Bengals will have a hard time replacing Jackson, but they do appear to be in the process of trying. Per Mike Klis of Denver’s 9News.com, they’ll be hosting free agent cornerback A.J. Bouye for a visit.
After visiting Raiders, veteran CB A.J. Bouye is headed to Cincinnati to visit with Bengals per source. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) March 14, 2021
Bouye, an eight-year player out of Central Florida, was originally an undrafted free agent signing of the Houston Texans back in 2013. He emerged as an upper-tier cornerback in 2016 and earned a five-year, $67.5 million contract from the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2017 offseason. After playing just three years of that contract, Bouye was traded to the Denver Broncos in the 2020 offseason. He was released by the Broncos last month after a subpar 2020 season.
Because Bouye is a street free agent, he’s free to visit with other teams before the unrestricted free agency begins later this week. As Klis mentions, Bouye previously visited with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Marion Hobby, the Bengals’ new defensive line coach, was with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2017-2018, which happened to be two of the best seasons of Bouye’s career. Hobby obviously didn’t coach Bouye directly, but he should be familiar with who Bouye is as a person.
Bouye, who is entering his age 30 season, is not the player he was four years ago. That said, he could be in the market for an affordable one-year deal and compete to start in Cincinnati’s secondary. We’ll see if the two sides agree to a deal in the coming days.