New York Giants: Who will replace James Bradberry at CB2?

aaron robinson, new york giants

The New York Giants made a major move today to free up salary-cap space. Veteran cornerback James Bradberry was released after two impressive seasons with the team. Bradberry was one of the Giants’ best players but they could not afford to keep him any longer. The move to release Bradberry freed up $10.1M in salary cap space for the Giants. New York now has money to invest in its rookies, but it also has a major hole to fill on its defense. Who will replace James Bradberry in the Giants’ starting lineup?

Could the Giants find Bradberry’s replacement in free agency?

There are a few free agents that the Giants could potentially target to replace James Bradberry. Releasing Bradberry freed up some cap space for the Giants to work with, but most of that money will be allocated toward their 2022 rookie draft class. With what little money shall remain, New York could look to sign a free agent on a veteran minimum contract.

Veteran cornerbacks like Joe Haden, Kyle Fuller, and Xavier Rhodes could be options for the Giants. All three of these cornerbacks play on the outside and have been in the league for some time. Admittedly, these guys are all past their prime playing years, but it could be beneficial for the Giants to sign one of these veterans with the hopes of receiving average cornerback play and stability along the boundaries.

Who could step up on the Giants’ roster?

Adoree’ Jackson is the new CB1 in town for the Giants. Jackson played as CB2 opposite of Bradberry in 2021 but will elevate to the primary role now. But who will now play opposite of Adoree’ Jackson? There are some young cornerbacks on the Giants’ roster who could compete for the position.

Aaron Robinson is a name to keep an eye on. The 2021 third-round pick flashed potential as a rookie. He played primarily as a slot cornerback in college and as a rookie, but Robinson’s aggression and size could make him a match on the outside. Aaron Robinson is 6-foot-1, 193 pounds, giving him adequate size as a boundary corner. He was targeted in coverage 30 times as a rookie, allowing 19 completions for 207 yards and 1 touchdown. ARob also managed to break up 3 passes while racking up 26 combined tackles after appearing in 9 games with 2 starts.

Another young cornerback that could compete outside is rookie cornerback Cordale Flott. The Giants drafted the LSU product in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Cordale is another nickel cornerback that could convert to the outside. He is a bit light, though, to play on the boundary in the NFL. But where Flott lacks in size, he makes up for it with his aggression and ball skills. Cordale had 13 PBUs and an interception in college; 5 PBUs in 2021. In college, Flott aligned 394 times outside, 797 times in the slot, and 93 times in the box (PFF). The Giants will need to get Cordale Flott more comfortable outside if they view him as a replacement for James Bradberry.

How can the New York Giants manage to retain James Bradberry?

New York Giants, James Bradberry

The New York Giants have taken an extremely patient approach with cornerback James Bradberry this off-season. Bradberry is scheduled to earn $21.86 million for the 2022 season, a number the Giants simply can’t afford, given their salary constraints.

With that being the case, general manager Joe Schoen tried every possible method to unload Bradberry for draft capital, but he simply hasn’t been able to get a team to bite. Bradberry is considered a No. 1 corner in the NFL, but teams would rather roll with players on their roster then consume a significant salary hit.

Schoen featured on WFAN on Wednesday, breaking down the situation and the communication with Bradberry’s representatives.

“Yeah, we’re working through that right now,” Schoen said on Wednesday. “His agents have been great; we’ve been in constant communication. I’ve talked to James–it’s been very professional throughout the whole process. We should have some resolution hopefully by the end of the week.”

The Giants’ GM indicated that they would likely have a solution by the end of the week. If he elects to cut Bradberry, the Giants would only save $10.1 million, just enough to sign their rookie class. They already have $5.5 million available. However, they would be missing out on an additional $1.6 million and draft capital if they are unable to trade him.

“I thought there would be more interest that there were some teams that showed interest pre-draft,” Schoen said. “We had a couple of different times when there was compensation in place, and the contract never worked out.”

Clearly, the market for a team needing a top corner is not big, otherwise, Bradberry would be easily moved. However, since the Giants clearly don’t want to outright cut him, is there a chance they find a way to retain him?

Looking at the Giants’ current salary situation, they desperately need the money to sign their rookie class, and there are a few ways to open up enough funds to keep James on the roster.

1.) Restructure the contract of Leonard Williams

Williams is set to earn $27.3 million this year with a dead-money hit of $35.6 million. In 2023, the Giants have the luxury of moving on from Williams and saving $18 million, but if they see him as a long-term solution on defense, they could simply restructure his contract and open up money for the short term.

Schoen has already indicated that kicking the can down the road is not something he’s looking to do, so restructuring Williams seems like a long shot.

2.) Restructure Bradberry’s contract

There are two different ways Bug Blue could restructure the contract of Bradberry to open up more salary-cap space.

The first option is to completely rewrite his deal and extend him. That would mean tearing up his current contract and spreading the money out over the next three seasons or so, but it doesn’t seem as if the Giants view him as a scheme fit in Wink Martindale’s heavy man-coverage scheme.

The other option would be to add voidable years to Bradberry’s deal, paying him a bit of money down the line even when he’s off the roster. This is what the Giants did with Nate Solder, lowering his cap hit in the short term but still paying $4 million for the 2022 season as a result. Thanks to Dave Gettleman’s genius, he’s already tacked on a void year to 2023 for Bradberry to open up funds last year, making this situation even more complex.

Dan Duggan of The Athletic detailed a great way for the Giants to open up a bit of room if they want to keep James:

Bradberry has a $13.4 million base salary in the final year of his contract. When Bradberry’s contract was restructured last October, a void year was added in 2023 to spread out the cap charges. The Giants could reduce Bradberry’s $13.4 million salary to the $1.1 million minimum with a restructure. The $12.3 million difference would be converted into a bonus that can be spread equally over 2022 and 2023.

The result would be $6.2 million in cap savings this year, while increasing Bradberry’s 2023 cap hit to $7.5 million. Bradberry would still become a free agent after this season, which would leave the $7.5 million as dead money on the 2023 cap.

The obvious benefit of this method is keeping Bradberry, but you’re also taking up $7.5M in cap space for next season without having the player. If the Giants are truly looking to rebuild, they’re better off rolling with a younger option at CB like Aaron Robinson and saving the money for the future. The team isn’t in a position to win big right now, so why strap yourself down the road?

Two players who the New York Giants could move on from over the weekend

New York Giants, James Bradberry

With the 2022 NFL Draft just one day away, the New York Giants have a few big decisions to make to clear salary space. The team currently has $5.5 million available in funds, but they need another $10 million to allocate toward the rookie draft class and a bit of cushion for the 2022 season.

Ultimately, with financial liability comes great responsibility. Uncle Ben might have said something along those lines. New general manager Joe Schoen has had his work cut out for him restructuring contracts and slicing and dicing the roster to carry a bit more flexibility into the draft.

However, there are two players that stand out as potential trade opportunities if not outright being cut to open up a bit more salary space.

Two players the New York Giants will likely be moving on from over the weekend:

James Bradberry:

The rumors revolving around cornerback James Bradberry have been frequent this off-season, especially since he would save the Giants $10.1 million if cut and $12.1 million if traded.

With the cornerback market drying up significantly after Stephon Gilmore signed with Indianapolis Colts, the Giants have a bit of leverage over teams who desperately need cornerback support and might be intrigued by Bradberry’s services.

As Dan Duggan of The Athletic reports, the Giants need to unload Bradberry and the cornerback market is drying up:

The James Bradberry saga could come to a head in the next few days. The draft and its immediate aftermath is Schoen’s best chance to find a suitor for the veteran cornerback with the onerous $21.9 million cap hit.

The Giants can’t afford to pay Bradberry’s $21.9 million salary this upcoming season, so we can all but guarantee he won’t be on the roster. That is mainly why the Giants have been connected to a myriad of defensive backs in the draft. How they operate in the first round will be a telling sign of their priorities.

Teams with secondary needs in the draft might have to jump on the opportunity to trade for the Giants’ CB1 if they miss out on their preferred prospects on Thursday.

Darius Slayton:

Another player the Giants will likely move on from is wide receiver Darius Slaton. Slayton has seen his production fall off year over year the last three seasons, but there’s nothing more concerning than his 18.8% drop rate in 2021. Slayton only tallied 339 yards and two touchdowns, meaning the Giants can likely replicate his production in the mid rounds of the draft.

Since Slayton’s contract was adjusted for performance related reasons, he is scheduled to earn $2.6 million this upcoming season, but the Giants can save $2.5 million if they release him.

Schoen is reportedly trying to find a trade partner to extract a bit more value out of him than just cash flow, but given his inconsistent hands, there may not be a team willing to pay him that amount for a potential liability.

The more likely scenario is the Giants cut Slayton outright, saving the money and reallocating toward another position or in-season salary cushion.

Giants News: Writing is on the wall for James Bradberry as he plans to skip all voluntary workouts

New York Giants, James Bradberry

With the 2022 NFL Draft quickly approaching, the New York Giants are running out of time to open up enough salary space to sign their rookie class. While they don’t have to ink them to their contracts immediately, the Giants will have to be wary of their cap space, which currently sits at $6.8 million. The team needs about $10 million more for the rookies and a little cushion for the 2022 regular season.

One of the most obvious ways they can clear enough cap space is by trading or cutting cornerback James Bradberry, who’s coming off a relatively down season compared to his 2020 gem.

Last year, Bradberry allowed 729 yards and eight touchdowns, a significant downturn compared to the 454 yards and three touchdowns he allowed during his first season with a Giants.

If the Giants do decide to part ways with the veteran defensive back, they would save about $11.7 million in salary space, a number they desperately need at this point in time.

Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com stated that James Bradberry isn’t expected to attend voluntary workouts as the Giants try to shop him:

But until Bradberry — who didn’t report for the start of voluntary offseason workouts and isn’t expected to — is dumped, the Giants don’t even have enough cap space to sign their draft class.

The Giants have time to trade Bradberry, but not too much:

There are plenty of players who don’t attend voluntary workouts, but Bradberry usually isn’t one of them. Bradberry has stayed away from the team and is waiting patiently for their move, indicating he likely will be traded if new general manager Joe Schoen can find a partner.

The primary issue is finding a team willing to pick up his salary hit and offer draft capital as compensation. The Kansas City Chiefs are reportedly interested in Bradberry’s services, and with Stephon Gilmore signing with the Indianapolis Colts, there is an absolute need for premium corners on the market.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Bradberry was a draft-day trade, especially if a prospective team loses out on the opportunity to draft a preferred corner. The Giants could gain in a bit of leverage in the situation, so they might be waiting patiently to find the best offer available.

Report: Giants and Chiefs working on potential James Bradberry trade

giants, james bradberry, chiefs

Considering the New York Giants are barely above the salary cap after making several signings in free agency this off-season, clearing enough to sign their 2022 draft class remains a priority. The expectation has been that new management will find a trade partner for CB1 James Bradberry, who is set to earn over $21 million this upcoming season if retained.

If the Giants can find a buyer for Bradberry, they would save $11.7 million against the cap, providing them with a bit of wiggle room to sign their draft picks and potentially a few additional veteran minimum deals.

However, opposing teams know that the Giants have little leverage in the situation but have been patiently waiting for the right opportunity to land more capital.

Reports have indicated (Nate Taylor of The Athletic) that the Giants and Kansas City Chiefs could be working together on a prospective deal. Realistically, Big Blue may only be able to return a mid-round selection since it is essentially a salary dump.

With the Chiefs acquiring a ton of new capital after sending Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, they have a few extra picks and money to spend, making a trade for Bradberry realistic.

Last season, Bradberry gave up 729 yards, a 65.2% reception rate, and eight total touchdowns. His deficiencies were primarily a result of schematic changes and lackluster offensive play, meaning he is still more than capable of playing at a high level and holding down the fort as a team’s top corner.

Given his value, Joe Schoen shouldn’t lay down on a potential deal, rather remaining patient and waiting for appropriate draft capital compensation.

Giants Mock Trade: Schoen leverages James Bradberry to the Kansas City Chiefs

new york giants, adoree jackson, james bradberry

One way or another, the New York Giants need to clear some salary space to fit their 2022 draft class under the cap. Currently, Big Blue has about $2 million in cap space, but that is not including the signings of multiple players over the past few days. Realistically, they’re around even, but that isn’t nearly enough.

Trading Bradberry has been in the cards for quite some time, but general manager Joe Schoen is buying his time, waiting for the right opportunity to strike. On Wednesday, the Kansas City Chiefs traded All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, providing them with insane draft capital. Reports have indicated that the Chiefs could be looking for a cornerback with their new money and assets.

In the trade that sent Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins, the Chiefs brought in:

-2022 1st-round pick (No. 29)

-2nd-round pick (No. 50)

-4th-round pick

-4th and 6th-round picks in the 2023 draft

What can the New York Giants get from Bradberry in a trade?

The Giants realistically may be able to get a fourth-round pick for Bradberry, who had a down season in 2021, allowing 729 yards and eight touchdowns through the air. With Kansas City losing star safety Tyrann Mathieu, adding more defensive back help is essential to their off-season strategy. The cornerback market has thinned out tremendously in recent days, so KC’s best chance may be to prove for a proven player with another team taking on some of the guaranteed money.

Clearing Bradberry off the books would save the Giants $11.7 million this off-season, making his contract nearly irrelevant in 2023. That money would be just enough to sign the draft class and maybe land a few minimum-level players.

Schoen and new management have been extremely conservative with their approach, filling holes in the roster with plenty of former Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens players. The Giants are looking at their current situation as a long-term build, laying the foundation with a strong 2022 draft class. But first things first, they need the money to sign them, and it ultimately will come from James Bradberry’s contract.

Giants Updates: When should we expect a decision on James Bradberry’s future with the team?

New York Giants, James Bradberry

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.

Giants’ Adoree Jackson makes plea to keep James Bradberry with big business decision ahead

new york giants, adoree jackson, james bradberry

The New York Giants are in a bind with their current cap situation, sitting at -$7.6 million and likely less after signing offensive tackle Matt Gono this week. Unfortunately, clearing cap space will be predicated on releasing big-name players preparing to earn big money.

Unless the team can convince some players to take massive pay cuts, GM Joe Schoen will have to turn his attention to the contracts of James Bradberry, Blake Martinez, and Sterling Shepard. Bradberry’s is the most bloated, preparing to count $21.86 million against the cap in 2022 unless he’s released or traded.

If released, the Giants would $12,136,111 in cap but accrue a $9,727,778 dead money hit. Ideally, the team could trade him for draft capital and still save a bit of cash, but one of his premier teammates is begging for the Giants to retain him.

“It would be devastating, I’m just being honest,” cornerback Adoree’ Jackson told the New York Post.

“Knowing him as a person, knowing him as a player, seeing things that he can do I’d love to have him back there in the secondary, getting the rock and getting it going.”

If the Giants don’t decide on Bradberry soon, they will have to cough up $2 million of his $13.4 million salary (guaranteed money). If they make a move with the veteran defensive back, it will likely occur early next week.

Based on the scheme fit after hiring DC Wink Martindale, it seems likely Bradberry will be on his way, especially since his cap savings are desperately needed to at least get into the positive. Alternatively, management will have to release Martinez and Shepard unless they agree to astronomical pay cuts.

With free agency slated to begin March 16, the Giants would like to have a little wiggle room, but it’s more likely they’re shopping in the clearance bin this off-season.

Report: Giants gearing up to trade star cornerback with $21.8 million cap hit pending

New York Giants, Kenny Golladay, james bradberry

The New York Giants are currently $7.6 million over the salary cap, meaning they will have to let go of a few more players to finally have a bit of loose change to spend this off-season.

Regardless of any free agent signings, the Giants simply need enough money to get their rookie draft class under contract. Unfortunately, this means that several high-profile players on the roster will depart at some point, but it is a matter of who.

Star running back Saquon Barkley has been a hot name as a potential trade candidate in recent days, but the expectation is that the Giants will retain him rather looking toward a big-money defensive player as a means of saving money.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport stated that the Giants are more likely to trade James Bradberry than Saquon Barkley:

“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.”

If the Giants were to retain James Bradberry this upcoming season, his cap hit would be $21.8 million. However, if they release him, they would save $12.1 million in salary space but accrue a $9.7 dead money hit. At this point in time, the Giants are better off saving a bit of cash rather than spending the full $21.8 million on him, especially given the defensive scheme shift.

As Rapoport mentions, trading Bradberry seems like the most efficient method of clearing his salary hit, and opposing teams may give Big Blue a mid-round selection for their troubles.

The Giants have already restructured Bradberry’s contract multiple times, so they will pay him $1.3 million during the 2023 season when he becomes a free agent.

When did Gettleman originally signed Bradberry back in 2020, he enjoyed one of the best years of any cornerback in the NFL. He allowed 454 yards and just three touchdowns, tallying three interceptions and 14 pass breakups. Last season, he came crashing back down to earth, allowing 729 yards and eight touchdowns, more than doubling his previous permitted production last year.

Despite Bradberry finding his norm in 2021, teams that play a heavy zone coverage scheme will likely view him as a nice commodity to add to their system. Considering the Giants are simply trying to get rid of his contract, he would be a steal for a team with $10 million to spend and in dire need of an above-average corner.

New York Giants have to make difficult cap decisions – could James Bradberry be released?

New York Giants, James Bradberry

The New York Giants are being led by new management in 2022. Joe Schoen was hired as the team’s new general manager and he has inherited a complete mess in the salary cap. Schoen admitted, the salary cap is a struggle, and he is going to need to clear roughly $40M and make some very difficult decisions. Could one of those difficult decisions be made at the expense of Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry?

In 2020, James Bradberry was one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Many felt as though the Giants’ defender was snubbed from an All-Pro selection. However, Bradberry’s 2021 season did not live up to the same expectations. With one year left on his contract, James Bradberry could be a potential salary-cap casualty in 2022.

Could James Bradberry be cut this offseason?

In 2020, the New York Giants signed James Bradberry to a three-year, $43.5M contract. In a strange turn of events, this deal looked like a bargain in year one but looked like an overpay in year two. Bradberry was solid in 2021 but did not uphold the standard he set in 2020.

Former general manager Dave Gettleman did restructure James Bradberry’s contract last year to give the team more short-term cap flexibility. But this move ballooned Bradberry’s 2022 salary cap hit to a whopping $21.86M. This is one of many Gettleman contracts currently leaving the Giants with little cap flexibility.

As high as this salary cap hit may be, the Giants do have some wiggle room in James Bradberry’s contract. Bradberry’s 2022 dead cap hit is only $9.7M, meaning cutting the cornerback would net the Giants with $12M in salary cap savings. This chunk of change would go a long way toward reaching that $40M target that Joe Schoen is trying to reach.

The Giants also have some other talents in the secondary that could step into Bradberry’s role. Adoree’ Jackson, Darnay Holmes, and Aaron Robinson are all younger, cheaper options that New York has under contract. Granted, James Bradberry is the team’s best cornerback. But Joe Schoen and the Giants will have to decide whether or not the difference in talent is worth the additional money spent on the salary.