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Panthers sign veteran cornerback A.J. Bouye to fill need on roster

Alaina Getzenberg, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Football

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers are continuing to address major holes on the roster.

The team has signed veteran corner A.J. Bouye, per a league source. Bouye, 29, has played in 100 NFL games and started 69 in his eight-year NFL career. He has 14 interceptions, 72 passes defensed and 338 tackles in his career. He will turn 30 in August.

Bouye most recently played for the Denver Broncos, but only played in seven games due to injuries and league-imposed suspension due to performance enhancing drug use. He missed four games after suffering a shoulder injury in Week 1 and missed another game after suffering a concussion in Week 7.

The suspension led to him being out the final four games of the season and continues into the first two regular-season games of 2021. He is eligible to participate in offseason team training, training camp and preseason games.

Bouye’s performance in games he did play was less than desired. Pro Football Focus awarded him the lowest grade of his career (55.6 out of 100) overall and accounted for him missing 14.3% of tackles, also the worst of his career although he did play in fewer games. Prior to the 2020 season, he had played at least 13 games every year outside of his rookie season.

 

The Broncos gave up a fourth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Bouye just a year ago. Bouye has also played for the Houston Texans. He is a one-time Pro Bowler (2017) and entered the league as an undrafted rookie, spending his first four seasons in Houston.

The Panthers desperately needed more bodies in the cornerback room. Opposite starter Donte Jackson, the options were second-year corner Troy Pride and recently signed veteran Rashaan Melvin. Also in the cornerback room are recently signed Jalen Julius, who spent time briefly in Kansas City last year as an undrafted free agent, and last year’s seventh-round pick Stantley Thomas-Oliver. Corner remains a position the Panthers are expected to address in the draft.

Continuing a trend this offseason, the Panthers are trying to fill all of the holes on the roster prior to the draft. One remaining position that could use another body? Three-technique defensive tackle.

“What we wanted to do going into this draft through free agency, through this trade with Sam (Darnold), is to just get rid of all the needs that we have. ... We just wanted to get to a place where our roster was in a good spot, where we can take the best available player at number eight,” general manager Scott Fitterer said this week. “We can always move up there, and like I said, we can always move back, but this just puts us in a position to make the right football move for this team going forward.”

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