James Bradberry had plenty of offers in free agency, reportedly having over 10 teams interested in his services. So why did Bradberry choose the Philadelphia Eagles, on a one-year deal no less?
“I saw the guys on the D-line and as a DB, sometimes your best friend is the D-line,” Bradberry said to NBC Sports Philadelphia Wednesday. “So I’m looking forward to it.”
The Eagles did revamp their defensive line in the offseason, signing pass rusher Haason Reddick to a three-year deal in free agency and selecting defensive tackle Jordan Davis in the first round of the NFL Draft. Both players are expected to improve a unit that finished with just 29 sacks last year, the second-fewest in the NFL. The Eagles are also getting Brandon Graham back from an Achilles injury to bolster the pass rush, teaming Graham up with Reddick and emerging pass rusher Josh Sweat on the outside. Davis will pair with Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, and Milton Williams on the inside (Williams can also line up on the outside as an edge rusher).
Bradberry is banking on the Eagles pass rush getting to the quarterback, allowing him to make plays opposite of Darius Slay. Bradberry has 82 career passes defended and has led his team in all six of his NFL seasons. Him and Slay are the only cornerbacks with 80 passes defended since Bradberry’s rookie season (2016).
Philadelphia didn’t sign its No. 2 cornerback until July last season, landing Steven Nelson on a one-year deal. The Eagles let Nelson walk in free agency, hoping to upgrade at cornerback in the draft — which never came to fruition. Prior to the Bradberry signing, Zech McPhearson, Tay Gowan, and Kary Vincent Jr. were the favorites for the starting cornerback job opposite Slay.
The Eagles had to make a splash move at cornerback in order to challenge for the NFC East title. Bradberry was clearly the best option available on the open market.