The Giants cannot keep James Bradberry on the books with a 2022 salary cap charge of $21.8 million. They might have to trade away their best cornerback to gain cap relief. Here is a look at NFL outposts where it makes sense for Bradberry to land next:
Patrick Graham is the new defensive coordinator in Las Vegas, and he knows the value Bradberry brings to a secondary based on their two years together with the Giants. Trayvon Mullen is coming off an injury-filled season (five games played) and help is needed in the defensive backfield. The Raiders are about $40 million under the cap.
With $57.5 million in cap space — the second-highest total in the league — the Chargers figure to be big spenders. Chris Harris will be a free agent and Asante Samuel Jr, a second-round pick in 2021, could use an experienced corner to lean on, and that could be Bradberry.
The usually stingy defense in Baltimore did not produce up to its customary standards. Trading for Bradberry would allow the Ravens to part ways with Marcus Peters and bring in some new blood to the back end of the defense. Plus, veteran Jimmy Smith is about to hit the open market.
Despite the magnificent run to the Super Bowl, the defense in Cincinnati allowed the seventh-most passing yards in the NFL last season. Three of the top corners — Eli Apple, Vernon Hargreaves III and Tre Flowers — are all headed to the open market. Bradberry would fit nicely with a team that has plenty of pieces already on the roster.
Robert Saleh in his first year as a head coach could not have been pleased with a defense that finished 30th in passing yards allowed in 2021. The top returning corners are Bryce Hall and Brandin Echols. Need any more reasons why Bradberry shifting from blue to green is far from farfetched? The Jets having $48 million in salary space does not hurt.
Add a starter for a year, give up a mid-round draft pick, do not re-sign him the next year and gain a mid-round draft pick as compensation? It’s the Patriots’ way, right? J.C. Jackson emerged as a star corner in New England — his eight interceptions in 2021 were second only to Trevon Diggs’ 11 — but Jackson will be an unrestricted free agent and his price tag will be high. Maybe let him leave and acquire Bradberry for one season?