The Philadelphia Eagles have had an exceptional offseason behind the handiwork of GM Howie Roseman, but they are far from being a perfect team. Despite adding AJ Brown, Kyzir White, Haason Reddick, and a bevy of talented draft picks, the birds still have some positions of need that have yet to be addressed, the most glaring one being in the defensive backfield. Right now, the top 3 cornerbacks on the roster for the 2022 season are Darius Slay, Avonte Maddox, and Zech McPhearson. Slay is coming off of his best season as an Eagle, in which he earned pro-bowl honors, and Avonte Maddox was hugely improved last year as a slot corner, but Maddox has had significant trouble in the past playing on the outside and McPhearson is not yet ready to be an NFL starter. Pair that thin corps with the fact that Safety Rodney McLeod is no longer on the team, and Philly, we have a problem.
It’s hard to expect Roseman and co. to fix all of the team’s problems in one offseason, but an opportunity has now presented itself that could possibly help solve the Eagles’ issues in the secondary. It had been rumored for a bit that the New York Giants were looking to move on from former Pro-Bowl cornerback James Bradberry via a trade, but since no trade partner ever materialized, Bradberry ended up being released by the Giants. That means the Eagles have an opportunity to go sign Bradberry for nothing more than a bit of cap space given up… but should they? Bradberry, who is 28 years old, was a Pro-Bowler back in 2020 when he tallied 3 interceptions and 18 passes defended for New York. I’ve seen some comments that Bradberry has fallen off since that season, though, and is not worth going after at this point in his career. Well this past season he nearly matched those totals exactly with 4 picks and 17 passes defended. Both of those numbers would’ve led the Eagles, including Darius Slay and his outstanding season. That makes this seem like an absolute no-brainer of a decision, right?
Well, those two stats are not the end all be all’s of cornerback play. We need to dive deeper into Bradberry’s stat sheet to figure out whether or not he’d be worth paying for. Bradberry’s tackling numbers have steadily declined since 2017, down to just 47 combined and 37 solo tackles this past season. Those numbers would’ve trailed both starting corners for the Eagles this past season, and there could be some lack of interest due to inconsistent tackling. Outside of those numbers, though, Bradberry still looks very much like a starting NFL CB. He had a slight increase in passer rating allowed, but when paired with a corner like Darius Slay he should improve. That doesn’t seem to be enough to outweigh his strong production in pass defense, so then why did he get released in the first place? Well, the Giants owed Bradberry $21.8 mil in 2022 in the last year of a 3 year contract with the team. By cutting Bradberry, they were able to recoup a little under half that, $10.1 mil, in salary cap for this season. The biggest question here would be money. Are the Eagles willing to spend basically the remainder of their cap space ($10.1 mil) for Bradberry? I would answer that with a resounding yes. This team has an opportunity to compete this year, but they will have a tough time doing so with this secondary. With an already strong offseason, I say double down and bring in Bradberry to give you the best chance possible to win the NFC East.