Gauging potential Chicago Bears Interest in Jaguars' A.J. Bouye

Gene Chamberlain

The salary cap-strapped Jacksonville Jaguars are about to release some players due to financial concerns and one plays what could be a position of need for the Chicago Bears.

Nick Foles does not appear to be among them.

Jaguars.com senior writer John Oehser reportedly ncluded cornerback A.J. Bouye among players he expects the team he works for to release.

The Jaguars are estimated to be $1.449 million over the salary cap by Spotrac.com, and several other players could be available.

The reason Bouye might be of interest to the Bears is the former Jaguars cornerback they already have could be cut for cap purposes. Cornerback Prince Amukamara has $9 million in salary due for 2020 and plenty of speculation has centered on his release, and the Bears don't appear to have a suitable replacement on the roster.

So thinking the Bears might be interested in Bouye is natural, but it might be a case of trading one debt for another.

Bouye had a five-year, $67.5 million contract and that included $26 million in guaranteed money. His average pay was much more than Amukamara's, at $13.5 million.

Bouye played at a high level in 2017, but in 2018 and 2019 his play tailed off as the Jaguars dropped from the high they hit when they made it to the NFC championship game and lost to New England.

In 2017 Bouye made the Pro Bowl and had six interceptions with 18 pass breakups. The previous season, he broke up 16 throws with one interception.

However, in each of the last two seasons Bouye had an interception and eight pass breakups.

The cost of Bouye's contract makes it seem unlikely the Bears could afford a deal for him. If they can't afford to keep Amukamara, who is still playing at a high level, considering Bouye doesn't seem to make much sense.

Backup cornerback Kevin Toliver and former CFL player Tre Roberson would be next in line to compete for Amukamara's job if the Bears released him.

They also could target that position with one of their two second-round draft picks.

Bouye is two years younger than Amukamara at 28. He was an undrafted free agent who signed with the Houston Texans and made an immediate impact when he became a starter in 2014, with six interceptions over the next three seasons before going to Jacksonville in free agency.

The stats of both Amukamara and Bouye are very similar. Both gave up excellent 75.3 passer ratings against in 2018 when their teams had better pass rushes, then last year Bouye was 101.5 and Amukamara 105.2. Amukamara had 4.3 and 7% missed tackle rates and Bouye 10% and 7%. And over the past two years Amukamara has three interceptions and 22 bases broken up to two interceptions and 16 breakups by Bouye.

What teams try to do to improve their cap situation if cuts are made is to draft players who cost little but guys good enough to start.

Considering these two are so similar and the cost savings won't be there, it would seem far more likely the Bears would draft someone in Round 2 if they were to cut Amukamara.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven

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