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Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry released by New York Giants

Matt Johnson

The New York Giants are releasing James Bradberry, cutting ties with the veteran cornerback just two years removed from signing him to a three-year, $45 million contract.

New York signed Bradberry in March 2020 with the hope that the 6-foot-1 cornerback would become a lockdown weapon in the secondary. In defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s scheme, Bradberry thrived in his first season.

Across 633 coverage snaps in 2020, per Pro Football Focus, Bradberry allowed just 44 receptions. He stood out against high-end wideouts, receiving a 79.9 coverage grade and surrendering just a 70.1 passer rating when quarterbacks targeted him. For his accomplishments, he earned a 2020 Pro Bowl selection.

However, the 2016 second-round pick took a step backward this past season. Bradberry was graded as PFF’s 59th-best cornerback, allowing 60 receptions and a 100.3 passer rating when targeted. Now, New York is parting ways with its starting cornerback.

The Giants attempted to trade him for months, at first seeking a mid-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. However, his contract pushed teams away with general managers unwilling to absorb the cap hit for the 28-year-old cornerback.

Bradberry will now hit the open market as the best cornerback available. In a pass-heavy league with defenses relying on cornerbacks more than ever before, there will be plenty of interest in his services.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders interested in James Bradberry

Who will sign James Bradberry?

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New York Giants
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

While James Bradberry is likely not a high-end No. 1 cornerback, he is dependable in man coverage. While NFL teams run a mixed percentage of zone vs man coverages, a team that primarily asks its cornerbacks to play physical, one-on-one coverage will have the most interest in Bradberry.

It’s unlikely Bradberry earns another Pro Bowl not, but NFL teams would love to sign him as a No. 2 cover. As previously reported, he will likely be a target for the Las Vegas Raiders considering the connection to Graham.

Are the Dallas Cowboys the greatest NFL franchise of all-time?

The Philadelphia Eagles are another team to keep an eye on in the bidding war for Bradberry. They need a No. 2 cornerback opposite Darius Slay and Bradberry fits a lot of the things they want at the position. Having already upgraded the front seven, Bradberry could be a piece to strengthen the secondary.

As for other potential landing spots, the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks could all benefit from adding another starting boundary corner before training camp.