Eagles Insider

'The possibilities are limitless:' Bradberry peeks ahead to free agency

Eagles Insider

TEMPE, Ariz. -- James Bradberry doesn’t play games. He doesn’t pretend this isn’t big business. He doesn’t shy away from the reality that he wants to make as much money as possible.

Every NFL player feels that way. Bradberry is just a lot more open and honest about it.

“My mindset is I try to treat this like a job,” he said. “I just try to go out there and do my job, that’s what they pay me to do.”

In the last nine months, Bradberry has been released by the Giants, signed a one-year deal with the Eagles, made Second Team All-Pro and reached his first Super Bowl, and in a few weeks he’ll hit the free agency market again, this time with better timing and greater value.

“It worked out perfectly,” he said of getting cut by the Giants. “It was a blessing in disguise. Of course at the time I got released, I didn’t look at it like that. I was anxious and a little worried, but I put my head down and worked and figured it was going to work itself out.”

And it sure has.

Bradberry signed a three-year, $45 million contract with the Giants before the 2020 season, but they moved on from him after last year in a cap-savings move.

He said Wednesday he knew as early as midway through last season the Giants were going to either trade or release him.

“It wasn’t really about me wanting to stay or wanting to leave New York,” he said. “I understood how the salary cap works, I understood how much I was supposed to be making, how much I was guaranteed … and we were losing due to injuries and whatnot, so I kind of foresaw what was going to happen. 

 

“I knew I wasn’t going to be part of the team, so I wasn’t surprised when it happened.”

What caused the anxiety and worry wasn’t that he got released but that it didn’t happen until May.

“It was after free agency,” he said. “It was like right before the draft. I was just worried about who had money for me and how things would shake out. Because I didn’t want to go back to a lower salary. I was trying to make some money.”

Which is why he’s playing football in the first place.

Bradberry has always been a very good player, but this year he elevated himself into elite status. 

He earned the sixth-highest coverage grade in the league among regular corners by Pro Football Focus, his 51.6 defensive passer rating was second-best among starting corners according to Stathead, and his 45.3 completion percentage led the NFL. 

He also made Second Team All-Pro for the first time and nobody was happier about that than his cornerback colleague Darius Slay.

“Man, I was real, real happy,” Slay said. “I was like, ‘Dang, yes!’ Because when the Giants released him, it was like, ‘What? Come on man!’ But he bounced back with an All-Pro year and he’s going to get a big bag.”

How big a bag?

Spotrac estimates Bradberry’s value on the open market this spring at just over $17 million per year, which would put him among the 10 highest-paid corners in the league. That’s where he belongs, and he’s not afraid to talk about it.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Bradberry was asked by a North Jersey reporter if he’d consider re-signing with the Giants, and his answer was he’ll go wherever the money is.

“You know what? I try to be an open-minded guy,” he said. “The possibilities are limitless when it comes to free agency and where I end up. Whoever wants me. … I’m an open-minded guy.”

Talking about his future doesn’t mean Bradberry will be any less prepared Sunday when the Eagles face the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

“We're businessmen,” Slay said. “But he knows that time will come.

"Right now it’s about winning this Bowl. It’s something we don’t have, so both our minds are to go out there and play our hardest to make sure we get that.”

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