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Broncos release veteran cornerback A.J. Bouye after one season

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.

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