Giants finally release CB James Bradberry, who should have multiple suitors

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The New York Giants reportedly have released cornerback James Bradberry, a long-anticipated move that will help the team's financial situation while thinning out the secondary.

Bradberry, 28, was signed by the Giants to a three-year, $45 million deal in 2020 by former GM Dave Gettleman, who drafted Bradberry with the Carolina Panthers. Although Bradberry twice adjusted his contract to give the team salary-cap relief the past two years, he was slated to hit the cap this season for $21.9 million.

In a snapshot of the Gettleman era, Bradberry was among his best acquisitions — and it still only helped the team for two losing seasons.

New Giants GM Joe Schoen resisted cutting Bradberry at the start of the league year in March. The hope was that a trade would materialize, but it never did. Not cutting Bradberry back in March cost the Giants about $2 million in cap relief for 2022.

Even so, there should be interest in Bradberry now that he's hit the open market. Schoen has said that the Giants had a few potential trade scenarios worked out with other teams, but the sides could not agree on how to handle Bradberry's contract.

The Giants cut cornerback James Bradberry for salary-cap savings, and he should have a fairly robust market. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
The Giants cut cornerback James Bradberry for salary-cap savings, and he should have a fairly robust market. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Over the past two seasons, Bradberry intercepted seven passes and defended 35 passes. He made the Pro Bowl in 2020 and has been very durable, missing only two games over the past five seasons combined.

The Giants remain short-handed at cornerback, although Adoree' Jackson and 2021 third-rounder Aaron Robinson are likely candidates to take the starting spots on the outside. After signing their draft class, the Giants will be fairly tight against the cap and might only have between $2 million and $3 million to explore free-agent possibilities at the position.

It's not yet known if Bradberry was designated as a post-June 1 release; if so, the team could save another $1.5 million against the cap this year.

Which teams might pursue James Bradberry now

Even though a trade never worked out, Bradberry should receive several calls now.

Among the potential teams that could target Bradberry now, the Las Vegas Raiders certainly come to mind. Bradberry had success the past two seasons — even while the Giants struggled — under former coordinator Patrick Graham, who now holds that title in Vegas under new head coach Josh McDaniels.

Another possibility is the Texans. They reportedly were one of the teams that had inquired about Bradberry's availability this offseason, although the team did draft LSU's Derek Stingley Jr. No. 3 overall last week.

The Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals are other teams that reportedly have shown interest and could attempt to sign Bradberry. That said, it's worth noting that the Chiefs and Bengals did spend higher draft picks on defensive backs last week.