According to multiple reports, the Philadelphia Eagles have signed free-agent cornerback James Bradberry to a one-year deal worth up to $10 million. Bradberry’s deal will pay him $7.5 million, including $7.25 million guaranteed, with another $2.5 million available in potential incentives. It represents a massive mid-May signing for an Eagles defense that carries the potential of a top-10 unit going forward.
Bradberry secured a Giants-leading four interceptions in 2021 and has totaled 380 tackles and 15 interceptions throughout an impressive six-year playing career. Bradberry was released from his contract with the New York Giants a little under two weeks ago after general manager Joe Schoen failed to identify an appropriate trade partner. The decision allowed the Giants to move on from Bradberry’s sizable scheduled cap hit of $21.8 million and the Eagles have now swiftly pounced on his available services.
Placing Bradberry opposite Darius Slay gives the Eagles one of the more exciting one-two punches at the boundary cornerback position across the league. Today’s pass-happy offenses place an abundance of stress on opposing secondaries and that has made rostering several high-level cornerbacks a necessary roster-building tactic. With Dak Prescott and the high-octane Dallas Cowboys serving as Philadelphia’s main competition for the NFC East title in 2022, it’s fair to say the Eagles understand the assignment.
The 28-year-old Bradberry is best described as a feisty, competitive, and physical starting-caliber cover-man that should immediately thrive in Philadelphia under the tutelage of Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Bradberry alluded to Philadelphia’s scheme as the main reason behind his decision to join the Eagles, per Josina Anderson and it’s easy to understand why the former Samford University standout feels that way. Gannon has largely preferred to employ Cover-2 Zone coverage looks throughout his career as a defensive play-caller. It’s a system that Bradberry’s skill set is best suited to play in. Bradberry has previously struggled when asked to play man coverage on a consistent basis, and Gannon’s defense will appropriately limit those appearances going forward. It’s a win-win marriage for all parties involved.
The Eagles entered the offseason with a glaring need at the cornerback position and Steven Nelson’s departure brought a newfound level of importance to the need to acquire a starting-caliber cornerback. Prior to Bradberry’s signing, the Eagles had not added a single notable cornerback in free agency, nor did they draft one in April. The Eagles did sign a pair of intriguing undrafted free agent cornerbacks at the conclusion of the draft in Joshua Jobe and Mario Goodrich, but relying on either player to provide the defense with quality snaps in Year One would be far too risky of a gamble.
Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman has spent the majority of the offseason attempting to improve what was largely an inconsistent defense in 2021, and securing the services of Bradberry qualifies as the appropriate cherry on top. Roseman addressed the team’s pass rush, which was a glaring weakness last season, by signing free-agent pass rusher Haason Reddick to a three-year contract worth $45 million. The Eagles later drafted Georgia’s Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean with top-100 selections in the 2022 NFL Draft. Roseman also retained Derek Barnett and Fletcher Cox in two separate moves that round out Philadelphia’s new-look front seven nicely.
The Eagles are prepared to enter the impending campaign with newfound expectations weighing heavily on their shoulders. They overachieved in 2021 by qualifying for the postseason, and a raucous fan base expects the franchise to take another appropriate step forward in 2022. An extremely aggressive offseason signals Roseman’s understanding of what’s expected. Questions remain throughout the Eagles’ roster, with starting quarterback Jalen Hurts’ progression at the heart of the unknown. Signing Bradberry just addressed one of the larger questions that remained present for a team that should flirt with 10-plus wins in 2022.
- Jun 28, 2022
- Jun 28, 2022