Why Eagles should pursue former Giants Pro Bowl corner James Bradberry

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Could Giants castoff be answer to Eagles' cornerback need? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles desperately need a veteran cornerback. And a 28-year-old who had four interceptions last year and was a Pro Bowler the year before is now available.

This makes too much sense.

The Giants on Monday released James Bradberry after they were unable to trade him and his huge salary.

Bradberry signed a three-year, $43.5 million contract with the Giants in March 2020 after spending his first four seasons with the Panthers.

He was due $13.4 million in base salary in 2022 but with a $21.86 million salary cap hit. He’ll still count nearly $12 million against the Giants’ 2022 cap but his release saves the Giants over $10 million in cap space.

Because Bradberry is a vested veteran with more than four years of pension service and because he was released before the trade deadline, he doesn’t go through the waiver process, immediately becomes a free agent. The team that signs him won't be burdened by his previous contract like they would have if they traded for him.

The Eagles did not sign a cornerback during free agency, and they didn’t draft one last month.

So with training camp 2 ½ months away, they have a bunch of young unproven corners, but they don’t have an established CB2 to play opposite Pro Bowler Darius Slay.

Among the candidates are Zech McPhearson, last year’s 4th-round pick; Tay Gowan, Kary Vincent Jr., Josiah Scott and Mac McCain, who were all here for at least part of last season; and recent undrafted rookie additions Mario Goodrich, Josh Jobe and Josh Blackwell.

Bradberry, originally a 2nd-round pick of the Panthers in 2016, started immediately for Carolina and has started 91 of a possible 97 games over the past six seasons.

His 15 interceptions since 2016 are 7th-most by NFL corners, and his 82 pass deflections in his six seasons are 2nd-most – two fewer than Slay.

For the sake of comparison, Ronald Darby has the most interceptions by an Eagles cornerback over the last six years with six, and Jalen Mills has the most pass deflections with 40.

The big question facing the Eagles is what kind of contract Bradberry is looking for and whether the Eagles can afford him.

According to OverTheCap, the Eagles have $10.2 million in available cap space.

They’re already paying Slay just over $50 million over three years, and he currently has cap figures of $10.1 million this year and $22.0 million next year.

Slay is already the 7th-highest-paid corner in the league with his $16.68 million, and Bradberry was the 11th-highest-paid before he was released with his $14.5 million average.

There are 20 corners with an average annual salary of $10 million per year, and Bradberry is a top-20 corner.

Would Howie Roseman really want to give premium contracts to two corners?

Nobody is better at structuring contracts and fitting them into tight salary cap spaces.

The Eagles won’t overpay for any veteran free agents, but if Roseman can make the numbers work, this one is a no-brainer.

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