Despite New York Giants cornerbacks James Bradberry having a phenomenal first season with the team back in 2020, his production fell off a bit during the 2021 season due to a change in schematics and lackluster offensive play.
The Giants lost the possession battle nearly every week, putting the defense in a terrible spot. After allowing just three touchdowns in 2020, Bradberry gave up eight last season, including 729 yards. He did record four interceptions and 13 pass breakups, but Patrick Graham tried to play a man-coverage-heavy scheme to start the year, which backfired on the team. He quickly transitioned back to a bend don’t break system.
Bradberry is set to earn $21.8 million this season if retained, but the Giants would save $12.1 million by releasing or trading the veteran corner. Given the importance of great cornerbacks in the NFL, acquiring a player like Bradberry on a discount with the Giants paying $9.7 million of his salary for the 2022 season, they could get a nice return in addition to the salary space.
Network’s Ian Rapoport has reported that James Bradberry will likely be on the trade market:
“One player who may end up getting traded and certainly will be the subject of trade calls is James Bradberry. The big-ticket free agent from several years ago still playing at a very high level. … He is expected to be a player teams are going to call and potentially the Giants will listen.”
The Giants have already restructured the contracts of Sterling Shepard and Blake Martinez, and given Bradberry isn’t coming off a significant injury and is in the prime of his game, he’s unlikely to agree to any monetary refinancing.
In fact, his best bet is to move to an alternative club where he can prove his worth and garner an extension beyond 2022. At just 28 years old, he still has several years left of high-quality play before age begins to take its toll. Teams like the Colts, Bengals, and Raiders stand out as potential landing spots, as each have over $25 million in salary space.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Bradberry was traded to the Oakland Raiders, where Patrick Graham currently resides after making the transition this off-season. The Raiders have $25.9 million available in effective cap space, so they have enough to handle his contract.
Given the Raiders’ success on offense last season, they could use a bit more support on the defensive side, and Bradberry might take their secondary to the next level, especially given his familiarity with their new coordinator.
In terms of contract guarantees, the Giants will have to pay Bradberry a $2 million roster bonus on Wednesday, so if they are going to make a move, expect it to be before that date.