It was pretty clear last week that A.J. Brown had the game against the Titans circled on his calendar and used the matchup against his former team as some extra motivation.
Not exactly the same for James Bradberry this week.
“I think the situations were a little different,” Bradberry said on Wednesday.
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But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t at least a little drama involved with Bradberry’s release from the Giants earlier this year. After trying unsuccessfully to trade Bradberry for months, the Giants finally released him on May 9, well after most teams had already spent their big money in free agency.
That’s how the Eagles ended up signing Bradberry to a relatively cheap one-year deal so late in the process. As you’d imagine, Bradberry wasn’t thrilled with the way the timing worked out.
But he’s gotten over it in the last few months.
“I have come to peace with it,” Bradberry said. “And us winning a lot of football games has helped me with that. I’m part of the Eagles, we’re winning and I’m going to try to keep that going.”
The Eagles are 11-1 going into their first game against the Giants this season and there’s no doubt that the addition of Bradberry has worked out. The 29-year-old has played at a legitimate Pro Bowl level in 2022 with 3 interceptions and 14 pass breakups in 12 starts opposite Darius Slay.
Bradberry and Slay have formed one of the top cornerback duos in the NFL. But it stands to reason that this might just be a one-and-done year for Bradberry in Philly.
Because of how well he’s playing, Bradberry might just break the bank in the way of a huge contract in free agency this spring. And the Eagles, who already have Slay on a high-priced deal, might not be able to afford to keep him.
Bradberry said he thinks his value is “pretty high” right now and that’s hard to argue.
“I’m open to staying here,” Bradberry said. “Like I said, at the end of the day, it’s going to be business first. And it has to make sense for me to stay here. And, of course, they have to want me to stay here too.”
While Bradberry said the chance to play for a winning team — and the Eagles are obviously a winning team — will certainly factor into his decision, the fact that he said “business first” certainly makes it seem like there will be no discount for his services in 2023. And the Eagles have a ton of pending free agents to worry about after the 2022 season.
So enjoy watching Bradberry while you can. Because these Eagles are a legitimate Super Bowl contender and he’s a big reason why.
Having two corners playing like Slay and Bradberry not only opens up the defensive playbook but it also makes things extremely tough on opposing offenses.
“That's one of the first things you think about on offense, what corner can I go at?” Sirianni said. “What defensive end do I have to protect against? You think about those things. I'm just glad we're deep at those positions. They really complement each other well in that manner.”
Sirianni on Wednesday revealed that the Eagles named Bradberry their defensive player of the week for his performance against the Titans. Bradberry had a couple tackles and a couple pass breakups against Tennessee.
But the most impressive part of Bradberry’s game is his consistency. While the results have changed over the last few years from a team perspective as he played for the Panthers, Giants and now Eagles, he’s been pretty steady.
“I think I’ve always been consistent,” Bradberry said. “It’s just a matter of me being in position to make more plays over here.”
That consistency starts with Bradberry’s preparation and what defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon called “football character” earlier this week. Whenever the Eagles are interested in bringing in an outside player, they create cohabitation reports to learn from players and coaches who have spent time with that player before.
That report for Bradberry was very favorable in the “football character” department and Gannon said Bradberry has actually exceeded those expectations.
“James Bradberry's football character, you would put it up against anybody in the world,” Gannon said. “Glad we have him.”
That’s high praise from the defensive coordinator and former defensive backs coach.
“I think it means that I’m a disciplined player and I pride myself on being disciplined and being dependable,” Bradberry said. “It means a lot to me.”
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