James Bradberry’s future with the New York Giants has become a bit of a mini-saga. In the lead up to the start of the new league year on March 16, the talk in the Big Blue rumor mill was that the 2020 Pro Bowler was on the trade block. He would serve as a key part of new General Manager Joe Schoen’s plans to slash a chunk off of the team’s bloated salary cap.
However, March 16 came and Bradberry was still a member of the roster. And it seems that the trade market for the 28-year-olds services is not as strong as team management originally thought. With No. 24’s future unclear at the moment, let’s take a look at the three options ahead for the Bradberry-Giants marriage.
Trading James Bradberry is the best option for the Giants
There is still a very real chance that Bradberry will be traded, and honestly, it is still the best option. The biggest problem from the Giants’ point of view is how long do they wait in the hopes of getting the best value for the six-year NFL veteran?
Unfortunately for the franchise, recent reports indicate that the interest from other teams in Bradberry isn’t as “strong” as the team expected. SNY Giants insider Ralph Vacchiano reported on Wednesday that the team is likely to hold on to the cornerback until after the NFL draft in the hopes of getting a better haul than the late-round draft picks that have likely been offered.
In the end, Schoen will have to settle for getting something as opposed to nothing, take a late-round pick and move Bradberry’s $21.9 million cap hit for this season.
New York Giants cut Bradberry to improve limited cap flexibility
The next likeliest option for the Giants and Bradberry is for the team to cut bait and release the former Carolina Panther. However, the best possible benefits of cutting Bradberry have already passed. If the team had shed his contract before March 16, they could have gotten $12.1 million of cap space immediately. Now that ship has sailed.
- James Bradberry stats (2021): 47 tackles, 4 interceptions
After making a few signings, the majority of the team’s newly available cap space has been used, and they still have to pay their 2022 class of draft picks. Outside of trading running back Saquon Barkley, releasing Bradberry may become a necessary evil to bring about greater change for a team that finished 4-13 last season. Even if they get less money back than they could have a few days ago.
Bradberry returns for his third season in New York
While this may be the least likely scenario, when all things are considered, Bradberry returning to the team for the third season isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Moving him could certainly give the new GM and his new head coach Brian Daboll a better chance to put their own stamp on this season’s roster.
However, Bradberry still remains one of the team’s best players on defense, and a locker room leader. An argument could be made that the team is better off keeping the CB for one more year and helping to build a new competitive culture. Yet, it doesn’t seem probable.