Is there a chance Bradberry will be back with Eagles?


James Bradberry won’t rule out a return to the Eagles but said his representatives haven’t spoken at all yet with the Eagles.

Bradberry, who led all NFL defensive backs in opposing passer rating, is one of the Eagles’ most notable unsigned players with free agency approaching in just about a month.

Conventional wisdom says there’s no way he’s back with the Eagles in 2023, but Bradberry is leaving the door open.

“There’s always a possibility,” he said at his locker Tuesday. “There’s always a shot. … I love playing here, so it’s definitely a possibility that I return.”

Playing on a one-year deal after his release in May by the Giants, Bradberry allowed 46 completions this year on 98 targets – that 46.9 completion percentage was lowest in the league among d-backs who played at least 10 games – and his defensive passer rating was 50.7 – best in the league. 

He made second-team all-pro, and whatever you thought about the controversial holding call at the end of the Super Bowl Sunday, the reality is that Bradberry is at or near the top of the list of free agents the Eagles could use back.

Spotrac projects Bradberry signing a three-year deal in free agency worth just over $15 million, which would put him just outside the top 10 highest-paid corners in the league based on average annual salary.

The Eagles can afford that even with a blockbuster new Jalen Hurts contract. It’s just a matter of where Bradberry fits in in GM Howie Roseman’s free agent hierarchy. Will he prioritize Chauncey Gardner-Johnson over Bradberry? What about Javon Hargrave? T.J. Edwards? Miles Sanders?

You can’t bring them all back, even with the unadjusted salary cap increasing from about $208 million to about $225 million.

This is a strong year for corners in the draft, and Roseman may just wind up letting Bradberry walk and looking for an heir apparent – a much cheaper heir apparent – in the draft. Especially with Darius Slay carrying a $26.1 million cap hit next year. That’s a lot to spend on corners.

Bradberry said money isn’t the only factor that will determine where he signs. After reaching his first Super Bowl and experiencing postseason success for the first time in his seven-year career, Bradberry doesn’t want to be a part of a losing organization.

This was his first winning season since 2017 with the Panthers. The last four years before he signed with the Eagles, his teams went 25-40.

“I think it will be a combination of winning and money,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to put a percentage on which one is more important. It’s kind of just based on a case-by-case scenario. 

“But I do know those two things are the most important to me – being on a good roster, having the ability to get to the playoffs and make a run in the playoffs. But also I don’t want to play for cheap, you know?”

What about location?

“Location is what it is,” he said with a trace of a smile. “No matter where I go at some point it’s going to be cold, so I don’t really care about location.”

Bradberry said neither he nor his agent have spoken to Roseman as free agency has approached, and he said that’s exactly how he wanted it. 

“I think that was kind of by choice,” he said. “I don’t know what they’ve got planned and I really didn’t want to ask about it because I didn’t even want my mind to be on that (during the season). I just wanted to worry about football. 

“But hopefully, we’ll be in contact soon.”

Maybe Bradberry will be back, but it does seem like a longshot at this point. 

And it’s worth noting that he did use the past tense Tuesday when talking about his year with the Eagles.

“I just enjoyed playing here because we were winning and everything was going so smoothly for us,” he said. “Of course, we had some losses here and there, we lost the Super Bowl, but overall I felt like we had a really good season. 

“I loved the fan support, all the energy they brought to the games, I just loved the team that we had. The back seven we had, we had a lot of good guys on the team and we gelled well in the short time that we had.”

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