Free-Agent CB De'Vante Bausby Confirms Broncos Have Been in Contact With his Agent
When last we heard word about cornerback De'Vante Bausby, the Denver Broncos had made the decision not to tender him as a restricted free agent. Coming off a season in which he spent all but five games on injured reserve with a serious neck injury, it's understandable why the Broncos might be reluctant to hand him $2-plus million on a one-year tender, especially considering he has just two career starts under his belt.
However, Bausby says he's been cleared to play for three or for months, and is ready to play football again at 100% health.
“I’ve been cleared for a minute," Bausby told Benjamin Allbright and Ryan Edwards on KOA's Broncos Country Tonight. "I got cleared like around Week 14, something like that, early December, so I’ve been cleared like three or four months now. So I’m ready to rock and roll.”
The cornerback position remains a need for the Broncos, even in the wake of the A.J. Bouye acquisition. Chris Harris, Jr. is poised to depart in free agency, leaving the Broncos still in a tight spot at the position.
The Broncos might not be comfortable tendering Bausby but they do want to bring him back. That could happen sooner than later for the former Alliance of American Football star.
“We was looking for the tender, didn’t get it. It’s okay," Bausby told KOA. "I’m ready to be a Bronco, though. I’m blessed to even have the opportunity, because like you said, I was with another league. I wasn’t even here this time last year. This time next year, when we come back to the table, it’ll be way different talks. [I’m] ready to be a Bronco. The conversations my agent and the Broncos are having are pretty good, so hopefully pretty soon here we can get things done. I’m ready to be back in Bronco Nation.”
What happens next for the Broncos in free agency and the draft? Don't miss out on any news and analysis! Take a second and sign up for our free newsletter and get breaking Broncos news delivered to your inbox daily!
Bausby has been in Denver less than a year, so cut him some slack on the 'Bronco Nation' thing. We all know it's Broncos Country.
Getting Bausby back would give the Broncos another viable starter at corner. With Bouye in the fold, so long as Bryce Callahan returns to full health and form, the Broncos could field a competent starting cornerback trio, even if Harris, Jr. signs elsewhere.
Bausby was just beginning to build up a head of steam when LB Alexander Johnson collided with him head-to-head in Week 5. Bausby suffered a cervical sprain (neck) and lost feeling in his limbs for half an hour.
Bausby started that game, though, which was his second-straight start for the Broncos. By the time the second quarter of the season had rolled around, Bausby had leap-frogged Isaac Yiadom — a former third-round draft pick — on the depth chart.
Bausby proved to be a great fit in Vic Fangio's zone-based scheme. Using his predatory eyes and instincts, Bausby proved adept at dropping back into coverage, baiting the quarterback into a throw, only to break on the ball and disrupt the pass. He came close to a couple of interceptions.
Bausby had two third-down pass break-ups in Week 3 on the road at Green Bay. That's not easy to do against a future Hall-of-Fame QB like Aaron Rodgers.
There's a reason the Broncos like Bausby, even if they don't love him at a $2M RFA tender. According to the player, the Broncos have been in talks with his representation. It wouldn't surprise me to see the team announce a new deal with Bausby before the legal tampering window opens on March 16.
As Bausby said, he was hoping for the RFA tender because it would have represented nearly a 4x raise but he's willing to take what he can get now, keep his nose to the grindstone, and come back to the bargaining table down the road from a stronger negotiating position.