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.