The New York Giants made a splash in free agency this offseason when the signed cornerback James Bradberry. Bradberry was one of the top cornerbacks on the market this year and the Giants paid him like it. New York signed James Bradberry to a three-year, $43.5 million deal ($14.5 on average annually).
James Bradberry has spent the entirety of his four-year NFL career with the Carolina Panthers after being drafted there in 2016. The New York Giants’ current general manager, Dave Gettleman, was the general manager of the Panthers at the time of Bradberry’s drafting. The connection was clear and the Giants were considered a top landing spot for Bradberry prior to the start of free agency.
The Giants gave James Bradberry a big payday. But does he deserve this contract and why did the Giants give him this contract?
James Bradberry Stats and Highlights
According to ESPN, 21% of James Bradberry’s career coverage snaps have been while aligned against Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, or Mike Evans. Bradberry has faced some of the NFL’s best wide receivers on a consistent basis playing in the NFC South. ESPN notes that Bradberry “ranks 12th in the NFL with 47 passes defended, as well as 14th among corners in interceptions (eighth) and second in tackles (279)” since 2016.
At 26-years-old, James Bradberry is the oldest cornerback on the Giants’ roster. But he is still a young player with a promising future ahead. One could argue that no cornerback in the NFL has had a more challenging start to their career, facing off against the best wide receivers in the NFL. Bradberry has handled this situation incredibly well. Here is a look at how he fared against the league’s best in 2019:
James Bradberry shadows in 2019 pic.twitter.com/BJeoY1ayti
— Jeff Ratcliffe (@JeffRatcliffe) March 16, 2020
James Bradberry locked up nearly every receiver he faced off against in 2019. None of those elite receivers Bradberry faced were able to top 100 yards against Bradberry. A key trait that James Bradberry is bringing over from Carolina is the ability to shadow receivers. In 2019, former-Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins complained in the media for not being allowed to shadow receivers. Presumably, it did not fit James Bettcher’s game plan.
Why Bradberry Will Thrive In Patrick Graham’s Scheme
In 2020, the Giants’ game plan is bound to change under Patrick Graham. The acquisition of James Bradberry indicates that the Giants will have their top cornerback shadow opposing wide receivers since that is what Bradberry is best at. James Bradberry also thrives while playing press-man coverage, another staple in Patrick Graham’s defensive scheme.
The Giants have built a defensive scheme around their players’ skillsets, rather than plugging players into a scheme and trying to make it work, like the last regime. James Bradberry will thrive in the New York Giants’ new defensive scheme. Hopefully, the rest of the secondary can thrive with him.