The Buffalo Bills earned high praise for how they approached the 2022 NFL Draft, trading up to land cornerback Kaiir Elam with their No. 23 overall pick and adding running back James Cook in Round 2. The Bills added a great deal of talent from the draft, but they are not done making moves.
While numerous trade reports linked Buffalo to possibly landing New York Giants cornerback James Bradberry last month, the sweepstakes for the Pro Bowler are not over, and the Bills still have a strong chance of snagging him in free agency.
ALL the latest Bills news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Bills newsletter here!
On May 4, former Bills executive turned Giants general manager, Joe Schoen, insinuated during an interview on WFAN that after failing to trade Bradberry, they will have to release him due to limited cap space.
“We should have some resolution hopefully by the end of the week,” Schoen said, as reported by NJ.com‘s Zack Rosenblatt. “It’s unfortunate because he’s a great kid… He’s a starting corner in the league. It’s just where we are financially.”
The Giants’ loss looks to be the Bills’ gain. On May 5, CBS Sports reporter Cody Benjamin named Buffalo as the No. 2 overall most “logical landing spot” for Bradberry, behind only the Washington Commanders.
“They alleviated some concerns about corner by spending a first-rounder on Florida’s Kaiir Elam, who should pair nicely with All-Pro Tre’Davious White,” Benjamin wrote.
“But Bradberry would take pressure off Elam to be a stud starter out of the gate, especially as the Bills look to win now. Coach Sean McDermott was Bradberry’s defensive coordinator in Carolina when the Panthers drafted him, and the veteran’s other former Panthers DC, Eric Washington, currently serves as the Bills’ senior defensive assistant.”
While the 2021 NFL season was not great for the Giants, finishing in last place in the NFC East with a 4-12 record, Bradberry still managed to record four interceptions. The 28-year-old Samford alum has notched 16 career interceptions since he was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Giants Simply Can’t Afford to Keep Bradberry
The Giants would love to keep Bradberry, but they can’t afford it. The franchise has just $6.2 million in cap space and the veteran cornerback has a $21.8 million cap hit for the 2022 NFL season. The Giants already ate $2 million of his contract, money that was guaranteed to Bradberry on Wednesday. So, now the Giants will only save $10.1 million by releasing him, “with a $11.7 million dead cap charge,” Rosenblatt noted.
However, “If Schoen cuts Bradberry with a post-June 1 designation,” Rosenblatt reported, “the Giants would save $11.5 million with a $10.3 million dead cap penalty in 2022 and $1.5 million in 2023.”
As for the Bills, they have approximately $7 million in cap space as of Friday, May 6, SB Nation‘s Matt Warren reported.
While that wouldn’t be enough to sign Bradberry, they can create more cap space by restructuring cornerback Tre’Davious White’s contract or left tackle Dion Dawkins’ deal. “A contract extension for safety Jordan Poyer or linebacker Tremaine Edmunds would also lower their cap hits for 2022,” Warren wrote.
Bills GM Said They’re Still Out There ‘Looking for Some Vets’
Earlier this week, Bills general manager Brandon Beane said during an appearance on One Bills Live that they were still looking to add players to the roster.
“I think the cap is still an issue,” Beane said. “Where our cap number sits, that’s our Top 51. If you look at some early roster projections, we need more money to get into the regular season.”
“If you were to cut it down right now, we would need another three or four million bucks and then you’ve got replacement costs for guys that get injured between now and that time or even in season that you need to save,” Beane continued. “So you’re always trying to save five or six million bucks. So we don’t have a lot of flexibility but yes we’ll still be out there looking for some vets and hopefully, they’re at our price.”