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Eagles’ talent a ‘huge factor’ in James Bradberry picking Giants’ rival after split

PHILADELPHIA — If James Bradberry wants a career in scouting after his playing days are over, he clearly has an eye for talent. 

When a three-month saga over his uncertain future with the Giants finally ended with his release in May, Bradberry turned his 2022 season into a chase for a championship rather than a hunt to quickly recoup lost wages. He knew from across NFC East enemy lines that the Eagles — coming off a one-and-done playoff appearance with then-questions about now-MVP candidate Jalen Hurts’ future — had the pieces to make a deep run. 

“It played a huge factor,” Bradberry said Sunday night, inside a locker room celebrating its berth in Super Bowl 2023. “I wanted to go to a team that had a good defense and had some weapons on offense that could move the ball. That’s why I ended up choosing here. It’s worked out so far.” 

The quickest way for Giants general manager Joe Schoen to clean up the salary-cap mess created by predecessor Dave Gettleman’s kick-the-can restructures and free-agent overpays to Kenny Golladay and Kyle Rudolph was to dump Bradberry

James Bradberry
Getty Images
James Bradberry while with the Giants.
Getty Images

Schoen waited past a point when $2 million of Bradberry’s salary became guaranteed — lowering the Giants’ salary-cap savings from $12.1 million to $10.1 million — but ultimately couldn’t get a deal done in part because Bradberry wasn’t willing to redo his contract to play for the losing Texans after the two teams reached a trade contingent on a new contract, as first reported by The Athletic. 

The wait cost Bradberry, whose Giants’ salary would have been $13.4 million, a chance at big free-agent money in March. He settled for a one-year, $7.25 million deal with the Eagles. 

“I definitely understood their point,” Bradberry said. “It was one of the ways where I was able to relax more about the situation. They were trying to get something back for me because I was a commodity from a business standpoint.” 

By the final phase of OTAs, however, patience wore thin on both sides. Bradberry signed with the Eagles nine days after he was cut. 

“At that time, I was just sad not to have a job,” Bradberry said. “What I was focusing on this whole year was making sure I did my part. I know we have a great team here and let’s go dominate.” 

Mission accomplished on both fronts. Bradberry, who was a Pro Bowler in his first season with the Giants in 2020, bounced back from a substandard 2021 to allow just two touchdowns on 94 targets and rank as the No. 18 cornerback in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. He is set up for a big free-agent payday. 

“It was a blessing in disguise,” Bradberry said. “Just have to keep it going.” 

As a bonus, Bradberry got the last laugh with three wins over the Giants, including one in the NFC Divisional Round, when he intercepted Daniel Jones. 

“It was kind of ironic that I got released by them and I had an impact in sending them home,” Bradberry said. “A top-three moment in my career.”