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Report: Colts “expected to be extremely competitive” in pursuit of A.J. Bouye

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Could one of the top free agents on the market this year change teams while still staying within the AFC South? It’s possible, according to a recent report.

According to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, the Colts are one of the teams “expected to be extremely competitive” in pursuit of Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye. Wilson also mentioned the Texans, Titans, Jaguars, 49ers, and Browns as teams expected to be competitive for Bouye. Wilson also mentioned that “sources predict [an] extremely high chance” Bouye stays in the division, whether with the Texans, Titans, Jaguars, or Colts.

Bouye had a breakout season with the Texans in 2016, playing in 15 games and starting eleven of them while recording 63 tackles, a sack, 16 passes defensed, and an interception. He’s actually spent four seasons with the Texans, but he got an expanded role last year and capitalized on it, playing like one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. Though he’s had just one great year, he’s also just 25 years old and, considering how good he was last year, there will be numerous teams after him this offseason. He’s going to get paid significantly.

The Colts should definitely be in the market for cornerback help, since Patrick Robinson was inconsistent last year and since Vontae Davis is entering the final season of his contract. Bouye is a young player just entering his prime, and though there’s some risk because he’s only had one great year and because he’s going to get a lot of money, it’s a worthwhile risk for a team to take. Based on the list of teams Wilson mentioned that are in pursuit, however, you’ll notice that there’s a lot of available cap room between them.

So far, we’ve seen the Colts linked to several mid-tier free agents, so Bouye is the first true top-level free agent we’ve seen them connected to. But considering the Colts’ need at the position, Bouye’s production last year, and the fact that he’s just entering his prime, it makes perfect sense for the Colts to go after the cornerback - especially with the added bonus that it means taking him away from a division rival.