James Bradberry

James Bradberry Chose Giants Over Lions

The Redskins and Jets loomed as known suitors for James Bradberry, but the standout cornerback chose the Giants. But neither the Redskins nor the Jets finished second in this pursuit.

Bradberry said his final decision was a Giants-over-Lions move. Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who drafted Bradberry in the second round when he was with the Panthers, played a role in Bradberry’s choice.

It was either the Lions or New York, and I felt like New York was a better fit for me,” Bradberry said during an appearance on the Jim Rome Show (via the New York Post). “I knew Mr. Gettleman; I know what type of organization he’s trying to build over there. 

“… I feel like both organizations were great; I feel like both coaches were great. I just feel New York might have been a better feel for me. It’s a great city; it’s something new for me.”

It took a three-year, $43.5MM offer for Bradberry to sign with the Giants. The Lions went in a less expensive direction after finishing second here. They instead signed the recently released Desmond Trufant for two years and $20MM.

It appears Bradberry was Detroit’s first choice as their Darius Slay replacement. The Lions subsequently traded Slay to the Eagles. Going with a lucrative Bradberry pact and trading Slay would have been interesting, however, given the Lions’ hesitancy about paying Slay — a three-time Pro Bowler. Bradberry, 26, is two years younger but has yet to be selected to a Pro Bowl.

The Lions have Trufant and slot man Justin Coleman as their top cornerbacks, post-Slay, and have been frequently mentioned as the team that will select Ohio State corner Jeff Okudah in mock drafts. Bradberry will now anchor the Giants’ cornerback corps.

James Bradberry To Sign With Giants

Another one of the top free agents is off the board. Cornerback James Bradberry will be going to the Giants on a three-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Bradberry’s pact will be worth $45MM, with $32MM of it being guaranteed. We heard a couple of weeks ago that the Panthers were unlikely to re-sign Bradberry, with Carolina being reluctant to dole out this kind of cash as they enter somewhat of a rebuild. The Jets were interested in Bradberry as were many other teams, meaning the Jets have been interested in but unable to land seemingly every big free agent so far.

Bradberry was one of the top corners available and he likely helped set the market for Byron Jones, who agreed to sign with the Dolphins moments later. Bradberry was drafted by the Panthers in the second-round back in 2016, and spent his first four years in Carolina. He’s started at least 15 games in each of the past three years, and has had at least ten passes defended in each of his four pro seasons.

The Giants’ secondary struggled mightily last year, so this was very much a position of need for them. They cut long-time starter Janoris Jenkins towards the end of last year after multiple clashes with the coaching staff, and were left with a bunch of inexperienced young guys at corner. First-round pick Deandre Baker was a disappointment as a rookie, and New York is hoping Bradberry can provide some stability to the unit. It’s the first major move of the Joe Judge era.

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CB Rumors: Harris, Bills, Jones, Dolphins, Trufant, Jets

The latest on key cornerbacks from around the NFL:

  • The Jets remain zeroed in on James Bradberry, but they’re also in the hunt for a second free agent cornerback. That search could lead them to Desmond Trufant, Connor Hughes of The Athletic tweets. Trufant will be cut loose by at Atlanta this week.
  • The Dolphins are among the clubs that have discussed impending Dallas free agent Byron Jones, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears. You can add Miami to the list of previously reported suitors for Jones, which includes the Jets, Raiders, and Eagles.
  • More from Anderson (via Twitter), who notes that the Bills are now in on veteran Chris Harris. They join the Cowboys, Bills, Jets, Raiders, and other clubs in search of the experienced secondary help that Harris would provide.

Jets Targeting Pass Rushers

The Jets are seeking some pass-rush help, and they’re eyeing some of the top names on the market. Sources tell Connor Hughes of The Athletic that “the Jets are doing their homework on Jadeveon Clowney” and are among the teams “in on him.” The Jets are also planning to “actively pursue” Rams pass rusher Dante Fowler.

The team could alternatively look to the trade market for help. Hughes writes that the Jets are expected to make a call on Ravens defensive end Matt Judon, who is expected to receive the franchise tag after finishing 2019 with a career-high 9.5 sacks. However, Hughes cautions that the organization may be wary to give up too much draft capital, especially when they’re looking to fill holes via the draft.

Hughes also expects the Jets to be in on a number of offensive lineman, including Joe Thuney and Graham Glasgow. We heard yesterday that the organization was planning on pursuing Redskins lineman Trent Williams. The front office could even pursue cornerback James Bradberry, according to the writer.

The Jets will have a whole lot of money to throw at a pass-rusher, as they’re currently sitting with more than $60MM in projected cap space. Hughes notes that the organization could easily move on from the likes of cornerbacks Trumaine Johnson, lineman Brian Winters, and others, which would open up an additional $20MM to $27MM in cap space.

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James Bradberry Unlikely To Re-Sign With Panthers

Panthers cornerback James Bradberry is eligible to hit the open market later this month, and he has 22 teams interested in his services to some degree. The Panthers may be one of those teams, but do not look for Bradberry to return to Carolina in 2020.

As the 2019 season drew to a close, we heard that the Panthers were prioritizing an extension for Bradberry, and that GM Marty Hurney had asked his talented DB to be patient, thereby implying that an offer would be forthcoming. However, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic says that while there was some conversation between player and team in the fall, those talks did not advance very far (Twitter link).

Rodrigue says that the Panthers would not increase their offer, and the team “went quiet” after that. Further, because Carolina is entering a rebuild, a franchise tag — at a cost of roughly $16.5MM — is not an option.

Bradberry is one of the best corners available in free agency this year, and he is one of those players that looks better on the field than he does in advanced metrics evaluations. Given the level of interest in him, the clear consensus from around the league is that he is much better than the analytics suggest — Pro Football Focus ranked him as a middle-of-the-road defender in 2019 — and since he will only be 27 by the time the 2020 season starts, the small-school (Samford) product may not yet have hit his ceiling.

Bradberry is shooting for a deal that will pay him more than $15MM per season, and with 22 teams taking a look, he may just get what he’s asking for.

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AFC East Notes: Jets, OL, Patriots, Kilgore

Add the Jets to the teams in the James Bradberry market. Cornerback resides among the many needs in New York, and the Jets are “very interested” in the Panthers starter, Connor Hughes of The Athletic reports (subscription required). Twenty-two teams have expressed some degree of interest on Bradberry, per Hughes. This includes the Redskins, now run by longtime Panthers coach Ron Rivera. The Giants are interested, but Hughes notes the No. 1 cornerback price tag will likely push them out of the running.

Here is the latest from the AFC East, first moving to other Jets rumors from Indianapolis:

  • A high probability exists the Jets will be the rare team to replace its entire starting offensive line. Week 1’s front five — Kelvin Beachum, Kelechi Osemele, Ryan Kalil, Brian Winters and Brandon Shell — are either unlikely to be back or certainties (in Osemele’s case) not to return, and Hughes notes that the Jets are eyeing four new O-line starters. Alex Lewis, a 2019 trade get who took over after Osemele’s injury, is a free agent but could be the player from last year’s front retained. The Jets are eyeing guards Joe Thuney and Graham Glasgow, per Hughes. While the Jets want to come away with a high-end free agent — they are also in on Jack Conklin — GM Joe Douglas will look to the draft to fill much of the O-line needs, Hughes adds. This points to Gang Green being in the market for this atypically stacked tackle class at No. 11.
  • Thuney is expected to cost at least $14MM, with Jeff Howe of The Athletic adding his bidding could push a guard-high $15MM. The Patriots have seen Nate Solder and Trent Brown sign O-line-record money the past two offseasons; they are not expected to try to keep Thuney. Even Thuney’s backup could have a big market. Ted Karras, a full-time starter only in 2019, may be set to earn command a near-$10MM-AAV deal, per Howe. That would be a good indication of the recently seller-happy O-line market hitting another level.
  • The Jets have also been in the market for edge rushers for years, finishing second in 2018’s Khalil Mack sweepstakes and seeing a player they wanted to turn into an edge defender — Anthony Barr — renege on a deal at the 11th hour. League sources expect Gang Green to target Dante Fowler, Hughes notes. The Rams’ bevy of big contracts will likely limit them from franchise-tagging Fowler. The Jets are also interested in Matt Judon, though the Ravens are likely to tag him. He could be a tag-and-trade option, however.
  • Despite their desperation for edge help, the Jets are not expected to be in the Jadeveon Clowney market. An issue with what some Texans sources described as a “cavalier attitude” made Douglas leery of pursuing a Clowney trade last year and has him looking elsewhere for outside linebacker aid, per Hughes. Clowney’s price tag figures to be immense. The Jets hold $49MM-plus in cap space but have many needs.
  • Optimism exists Devin McCourty will be back in New England on a third contract, Howe adds. McCourty and the Patriots are expected to meet before week’s end. The standout safety has spent all 10 seasons of his career in New England. With Jason McCourty still under contract, Devin returning to the Pats should not exactly surprise.
  • Like the Jets, the Dolphins could have a retooled offensive front. They are looking around for centers to replace Daniel Kilgore, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Kilgore has started 17 games since signing with the Dolphins in 2018. Releasing him in the final year of his contract would save the Dolphins $4MM.

CB James Bradberry Seeking $15MM/Season, Redskins To Have Interest

James Bradberry is focused on resetting the cornerback market. Jeremy Fowler reports (via Twitter) that the veteran is seeking a contract that would pay him more than $15MM per season. The reporter notes that the Redskins are among the teams expected to be involved in the bidding.

The 2016 second-round pick has evolved into one of the top players at his position. While the advanced metrics haven’t necessarily been kind to Bradberry, he’s still put him some gaudy numbers. During his four seasons with the Panthers, the defensive back has compiled at least 10 passes defended each year. That includes a 2019 campaign where he finished with 65 tackles, one sack, 12 passes defended, and a career-high three interceptions.

As for the interest from the Redskins, this isn’t overly surprising. After all, Bradberry was fond of former Panthers head coach (and current Redskins head coach) Ron Rivera, and he said earlier this month that he’d love a reunion.

I would love to play for Coach Rivera again,” Bradberry said. “He’s a great man and a great coach. He coached me for four years. I didn’t realize how much he meant to us until that day [he got fired]…Just how he spoke to us as men. He wasn’t overly aggressive unless he needed to be. He put his foot down when he needed to be.”

Bradberry will sit atop the cornerback market alongside Byron Jones and Chris Harris. Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard currently leads the position with an average annual value that’s barely north of $15MM.

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James Bradberry Eyeing Redskins?

On the cusp of his first turn through free agency, Panthers cornerback James Bradberry says he wouldn’t mind reuniting with former head coach Ron Rivera

[RELATED: Redskins Meet With Greg Olsen]

I would love to play for Coach Rivera again,” Bradberry told NBC Sports. “He’s a great man and a great coach. He coached me for four years. I didn’t realize how much he meant to us until that day [he got fired]…Just how he spoke to us as men. He wasn’t overly aggressive unless he needed to be. He put his foot down when he needed to be.”

Of course, Bradberry added that he’s looking to be paid what he’s worth. For any team that signs him, that’ll require a significant commitment – the former second-round pick has stifled some of the league’s best receivers in Carolina, setting him up for a huge payday on the open market. In other words, if there’s any “discount” to be had for Rivera & Co., it won’t be a substantial one.

Meanwhile, Bradberry says that, ideally, he’d like to re-up with the only team he’s ever known.

Dream scenario, I would love to continue my career with the Carolina Panthers,” he said. “I’ve been there for four years. One of my closest friends on the team, Shaq Thompson, he’s still there. I would love to get to finish the rest of my career alongside him.”

Thompson, a tenacious linebacker, inked a four-year, $54MM extension with the Panthers in December. That deal put him in the top five for all linebackers in the NFL, and Bradberry is also aiming for top placement at his position.

In 2019, Bradberry snagged three interceptions and registered 65 total tackles. The advanced metrics have never been too fond of his work, but Rivera is a fan, and a number of clubs will be interested in the 26-year-old (27 in August). He’s also be a logical fit from a football perspective, especially if Rivera drops another old colleague in Josh Norman.

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NFC South Notes: JPP, Panthers, Falcons

Bruce Arians has understandably asserted Shaquil Barrett‘s all-time contract year will keep him with the Buccaneers but added the team wants to keep its other high-profile front-seven starters as well. Both Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh‘s contracts are up, but Arians said keeping both will be a top priority (Twitter link via Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com). The veteran HC may have indicated JPP resides slightly higher on the priority list as well, per Greg Auman of The Athletic (on Twitter). Pierre-Paul returned from another scary injury this season and has registered 8.5 sacks in 10 games, giving him 21 in two Bucs seasons. The Bucs hold a great deal of cap space, at $88.9MM, but will likely need to devote a chunk of that amount to Jameis Winston.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • If Greg Olsen opts to put off his broadcasting career for another year, he will likely need to relocate. The veteran tight end indicated recently he did not want to take part in a potential Panthers rebuild. While the franchise has not committed to charting that path, Joe Person of The Athletic expects Olsen to be elsewhere in 2020. “I just think sometimes the writing’s on the wall,” Olsen said, via Joe Person of The Athletic (subscription required). “There hasn’t been anything officially. But I wanted to make sure if that was my last time that I made sure I told the people that I needed to how much they meant on my career.” One year (at a $6.6MM base salary) remains on the 34-year-old tight end’s contract. Carolina would save $8.1MM by cutting Olsen, its top tight end for the past nine years.
  • Moving to a younger NFC South tight end, Austin Hooper acknowledged the Falcons have not yet made him an offer to stay, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). Hooper, however, would like to return, and Thomas Dimitroff appeared to indicate the breakout tight end will be a priority (Twitter link via Ledbetter). We heard this earlier this season as well.
  • A Hooper return may lead De’Vondre Campbell elsewhere. The Falcons already gave a top-market contract to Deion Jones and are up against the salary cap. While noting he wants to stay in Atlanta, the Falcons’ top 2019 tackler acknowledged (via ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure) he may need to change teams. Although the Falcons will consider re-signing Campbell and Vic Beasley, Dimitroff did not commit to either’s return (via McClure, on Twitter).
  • Despite Breshad Perriman‘s end-of-season stretch potentially raising his free agency price, the Buccaneers‘ No. 3 wideout would like to stay in this high-octane offense. Perriman signed a one-year, $4MM deal with Tampa Bay, doing so after backing out of a Cleveland commitment following the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. The Bucs have Mike Evans on a high-end deal and will see Chris Godwin enter a contract year in 2020, perhaps pushing Perriman to another team.
  • A player the Panthers do not want on another team: James Bradberry. Carolina’s top cornerback met with GM Marty Hurney, and David Newton of ESPN.com notes the fourth-year corner received a “be patient” message from this summit. The Panthers want Bradberry back, Newton adds, but the former Round 2 pick would obviously prefer an upper-echelon deal to stay.

Panthers, Bradberry Discussing Extension

The Panthers checked off a key offseason task by signing Shaq Thompson to a four-year extension, and they have identified James Bradberry as another homegrown player they would like to retain.

Bradberry’s agent and the Panthers have discussed an extension, but the parties have not agreed on terms yet. The fourth-year cornerback will be a free agent at season’s end. With Thompson locked down, Bradberry rates as the Panthers’ top UFA-to-be.

When (my agent) told me they had talked and we hadn’t quite reached a point of agreement, I pretty much understood I might be heading to free agency or I might get franchise-tagged,” Bradberry said, via Joseph Person of The Athletic (subscription required). “He just told me, ‘Just be patient.’ We’ve got three games left and you never know what the owner might decide.”

Thompson agreed on a deal that will make him a top-10 wage-earner at his position; it will take such a commitment to keep Bradberry off the market. The Panthers use Bradberry as their top corner, and given the position’s stagnant market, the Division I-FCS success story is understandably being patient for a quality deal here. Ex-Panther Josh Norman‘s $15MM-AAV contract — agreed to in the spring of 2016 — still stands as the league’s second-highest cornerback salary.

Bradberry also confirmed he will not hold out, if the Panthers decide to use the franchise tag on him. The cornerback tag is expected to be worth around $16.5MM, Joel Corry of CBS Sports writes, and a scenario where the Panthers use the tag in this case would not bother Bradberry.

That’s a lot of money for one year. I understand Le’Veon Bell, why he sat out. I understand why guys don’t wanna sign it,” Bradberry said. “But I don’t think I’m at liberty to sit out. I don’t really want to sit out and then have the (potential) lockout year. That’d be two years I’d have to sit out.”

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