Eagles’ talent a “massive factor” in James Bradberry choosing Giants’ rival after split
PHILADELPHIA — If James Bradberry wants a career in scouting after his playing days, he clearly has an eye for talent.
When a three-month saga about his uncertain future with the Giants finally ended with his release in May, Bradberry turned his 2022 season into a championship chase rather than a hunt to quickly recoup lost wages. He knew from across the NFC East’s enemy lines that the Eagles—after a one-off playoff performance that left questions about the future of now-MVP candidate Jalen Hurts—had the pieces to pull off a deep run.
“It played a big part,” Bradberry said in a locker room on Sunday night celebrating his berth in the 2023 Super Bowl. “I wanted to go to a team that had a good defense and offensive weapons that could move the ball. That’s why I finally chose here. It’s worked out so far.”
The fastest way for Giants general manager Joe Schoen to clean up the salary cap mess created by predecessor Dave Gettleman’s kick-the-can restructuring and overpaying free agents to Kenny Golladay and Kyle Rudolph, was to dump Bradberry.
Schoen waited past a point where $2 million of Bradberry’s salary was guaranteed — cutting the Giants’ salary cap savings from $12.1 million to $10.1 million — but in the end he couldn’t make a deal, in part as Bradberry was unwilling to re-execute his contract to play for the losing Texans after the two teams reached a trade contingency on a new contract, as first reported by The Athletic.
The wait cost Bradberry, whose salary from the Giants would have been $13.4 million, a chance at a lot of free money in March. He settled on a one-year, $7.25 million deal with the Eagles.
“I certainly got their point,” said Bradberry. “It was one of the ways I was able to relax more about the situation. They were trying to get something back for me because I was a commodity from a business point of view.”
However, in the last phase of OTAs, patience ran out on both sides. Bradberry signed with the Eagles nine days after being fired.
“At the time, I was just sad that I didn’t have a job,” said Bradberry. “What I focused on all year was making sure I did my part. I know we have a great team here and let’s dominate.”
Mission accomplished on both fronts. Bradberry, who was a Pro Bowler in his first season with the Giants in 2020, bounced back from a subpar 2021 and allowed just two touchdowns on 94 goals and was ranked the No. 18 cornerback in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s set up for a big free-agent payday.
“It was a blessing in disguise,” said Bradberry. “You just have to keep it up.”
As a bonus, Bradberry got the last laugh with three wins over the Giants, including one in the NFC Divisional Round, when he intercepted Daniel Jones.
“It was quite ironic that I was released by them and I made an impact by sending them home,” said Bradberry. “A top-three moment in my career.”