The Denver Broncos are starting 2021 by cutting costs.
The Broncos released cornerback A.J. Bouye on Wednesday after just one season with the team.
Bouye played in a mere seven games with the Broncos in 2020 while dealing with a shoulder issue before he was suspended for the remaining four contests (plus the first two of 2021) due to a violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He finished with 23 tackles and six passes defensed.
The move is the first of what could be many cap-driven decisions seen across the league in this offseason. With the salary cap expected to be below projections that existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and just four NFL teams working with more than $40 million in space, teams will start to address contracts that were once affordable, but now appear bloated.
Coming off an insignificant 2020 campaign and entering his age-30 season with a $13.2 million cap number -- the second-highest on the Broncos' roster -- Bouye qualified as an easy release. Denver found younger, more viable options last season without Bouye and will head into 2021 free agency with an additional $13 million cleared, bringing its total cap space close to $33 million.