According to 9News’ Mike Klis, Broncos cornerback A.J. Bouye is facing a suspension for the use of performance enhancing drugs.
Broncos CB AJ Bouye is facing suspension for performance enhancing supplement per source. Connected to Will Fuller/Bradley Roby situation from last week I’m told. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) December 8, 2020
According to KOA’s Benjamin Allbright, Bouye will not be the last player tied suspended for PED usage. They were led to believe a banned substance they took was legal when that was not the case.
The PED story will have more fallout than the three players so far (Roby, Fuller, Bouye).— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) December 8, 2020
Players were lied to about the substance they took.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport confirmed the situation is similar to the Bradley Roby and Will Fuller’s. Both were suspended for six games.
A similar situation to Bradley Roby and Will Fuller, who both received 6-game suspensions. https://t.co/vUMq1vNzFO— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 8, 2020
Bouye is in his first year with the Broncos after being acquired in a trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’s played the last six weeks after a shoulder injury against the Titans landed him on Injured Reserve. He missed games against the Steelers, Buccaneers, Jets, and Patriots. In week nine he missed the Broncos game against the Falcons due to a concussion.
With Bryce Callahan already on Injured Reserve, I would expect the absence of Bouye to mean De’Vante Bausby returns to the starting lineup. The former AAF star has had a rather peculiar 2020. After being considered the Broncos’ third best corner for most of camp he found himself on the practice squad. When Bouye landed on Injured Reserve, Bausby found his way into the defensive lineup for games against the Jets and Patriots. After Bouye’s return he was waived, and signed with the Arizona Cardinals, where he played against Green Bay. Following the Packer game, he was cut and found his way back to the Broncos.
Losing Bouye could also mean an expanded role for Will Parks, although I believe Fangio primarily sees him as a nickel corner and special teamer. He’s more likely to replace Essang Bassey, who will miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury.
Parks was drafted in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft and found his way into the starting lineup under Vance Joseph. He began the early part of the 2019 season as a safety, but eventually lost his starting job when Kareem Jackson, Alexander Johnson, Shelby Harris and Mike Purcell were brought into their current roles. Parks found his way back to defensive snaps primarily in the slot. Even when Kareem Jackson missed the final two games of last season, Trey Marshall played safety.
Odds are, we’ve seen the last of Bouye in orange and blue in 2020. What remains to be seen is what happens from here. Even prior to this suspension I considered boundary cornerback a Day 1 type of need for next year’s Broncos. Bouye turns 30-years old in August and has had his share of issues this season. While he’s looked solid at the catch point and offers size and physicality, he’s displayed issues transitioning out of his backpedal and breaking down in space.
Bouye carries no guaranteed money on his contract. If the Broncos elect to move on from him prior to the 2021 season, it will create $13,375,000 in cap space. According to Over the Cap’s Nick Korte, Bouye stands to lose $823,529 for each game he’s suspended. If he misses the final four games of this season as expected, the Broncos will get almost a $3.3 million credit on their 2021 cap.
I’ll have more updates on this story as we get them.