CB Bradberry Flips From Giants To Birds, Inks 1-year Deal
One of the missing pieces to the puzzle for the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive backfield is now in place.
The team on Wednesday strengthened one of it’s most glaring deficiencies, agreeing to terms with free-agent cornerback James Bradberry on a 1-year deal.
The contract is worth $7.25 million guaranteed, per ESPN, with the opportunity to make about $10 million.
It’s a high-end deal for a cornerback who struggled for parts of 2021, but nonetheless an important upgrade for the Eagles, who badly needed to replenish the position.
Bradberry, a 2020 Pro Bowler, will pair with Darius Slay, who just made his fourth Pro Bowl, to give the Eagles their most accomplished cornerback tandem in more than a decade.
The addition of Bradberry, who was released last week by the Giants in a cap-slashing move after New York failed to trade him, gives Eagles second-year defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon an ideal fit for Gannon’s zone concepts and should help ease the burden on the team’s thin safety spot.
Inside The Birds reported earlier this week that the Eagles were interested in Bradberry and that they’d have to be willing to meet the corner’s price.
Adam Caplan: “The Eagles definitely have interest. What we’re told is that there are a lot of teams involved. He’s a zone corner. The Eagles played the most zone coverage, 91 percent of the first half of the season and then they went more man. We don’t know if [Jonathan] Gannon’s going to mix it up. Typically, teams do anyway. Just about every team plays more zone than man, but some teams play 45-47 percent of man, which is really high in today’s NFL. He’s got to play a specific way. It just didn’t work for him last season. He got burned a lot. But, he’s a good player, high-character guy. He doesn’t have a big injury history. This would be a good signing for them, but again, it’s going to come down to money.”
Bradberry teams with Slay, slot cornerback Avonte Maddox and likely fourth corner Zech McPhearson, a 2021 fourth-round pick, to occupy the top four spots on the totem pole.
With additions on the defensive line, linebacker and now cornerback, Gannon has the proper personnel to comfortably execute the zone defense concepts that the Eagles struggled to execute last year in Gannon’s first season as a defensive coordinator.
After the Eagles started 2-6, with his defense struggling to stop the run, Gannon switched to a predominantly man scheme and changed some personnel at linebacker to rectify the team’s problems.
An AFC personnel executive told Inside The Birds that Bradberry should be an upgrade over last year’s No. 2 corner, Steven Nelson, who signed this offseason with the Texans, and called Bradberry a “solid, stopgap” complement to Slay who matches up well against bigger receivers.
The executive also noted that the 28-year-old Bradberry lacks ideal outside speed and that the tape showed his tackling last year wasn’t very good, adding that “you can’t expose him too much to man” coverage.
Bradberry, a 2016 second-round pick by the Panthers out of Samford, started 50 games in four years for Carolina, securing eight interceptions and averaging more than 12 pass breakups a season before signing a monster deal with the Giants in 2020.
He made the Pro Bowl in his first season in New York, with three interceptions and a career-high 18 pass breakups for the league’s ninth-best scoring defense. Last year, he started slowly and struggled when the Giants employed man concepts, but still finished with a career-best four interceptions to go along with 17 pass breakups.
The Bradberry signing is the latest example of Eagles personnel chief Howie Roseman finding value deep into free agency and after the draft, when signings don’t have an impact on the compensatory pick formula.
Bradberry joins cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Steven Nelson and running back LeGarrette Blount as starters that Roseman has acquired deep into the offseason.
Bradberry also joins pass rusher Haason Reddick, linebacker Kyzir White, and two draft picks – first-round defensive tackle Jordan Davis and third-round linebacker Nakoba Dean, both national champions from Georgia – as major upgrades to a defense that last year allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete nearly 70 percent of passes, a league worst, and ranked in the bottom 10 in passer rating against them.
– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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