With the deadline for teams to designate a franchise player occurring today, the Texans have stood pat. They decided against designating a franchise player. If the team decided to use it, the team would’ve tagged cornerback A.J. Bouye. Bouye went from a nickel corner to a shutdown corner in 2016. But, he will now be hitting the free agent market next week.

A.J. Bouye:

While Bouye will not be tagged with the 1-year contract, the Texans are still hopeful of getting a long-term deal done with the cornerback. As one of the top free agents available, however, Bouye will have plenty of teams vying for his services. In fact, many media and team personnel around the league believe Bouye could command at least $12 million annually on a new deal. That value would place Bouye among the league’s elite cornerbacks, and put a lot of money in the Texans’ defensive backfield.

The Texans would be wise to commit the money to Bouye, as he truly looked like a shutdown cornerback last season. With big salaries owed to fellow cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson, the team could be forced to make a tough decision on one of them. However, Bouye brings the right combination of size, skill, youth, and potential that is worth investing in long-term. If Bouye reaches the open market, however, he could see his value go up even higher. There are plenty of teams that have cap room to spend on a building block on defense. For the Texans, they must make sure they don’t let a core player walk in free agency.