The Indianapolis Colts have signed three new free agents this offseason. All three of those free agents will play in the Indianapolis secondary this fall.
But NFL writer Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report writes the Colts should still add to the back end of their defense.
In an article released on April 10, Wharton argued that Indianapolis acquiring 2020 Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry from the New York Giants is one of five trades teams should try to execute before the start of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 28.
“The signing of Brandon Facyson was a shrewd move based on his quality play in limited time with the Raiders,” Wharton wrote. “Bolstering the position with a proven veteran such as James Bradberry would be ideal, though. Entering the last year of his contract, he would be much more impactful for the AFC South contender than the rebuilding Giants.”
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How James Bradberry Fits with Colts
While Indianapolis has signed three new secondary players, two of them are safeties. At cornerback, the Colts added Brandon Facyson on a one-year contract, but it’s not likely that he will make up for the amount of snaps Indianapolis lost at cornerback this offseason.
The Colts traded cornerback Rock Ya-Sin to the Las Vegas Raiders for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, and veteran cornerback Xavier Rhodes remains a free agent. Ya-Sin and Rhodes were second and third among Colts cornerbacks in defensive snaps, each playing more than 50% of the team’s snaps on defense, last season.
Bradberry played 99% of the Giants’ defensive snaps in 2021 and hasn’t played fewer than 94% of his team’s defensive snaps in a single season throughout his career. He has 15 interceptions and 82 pass defenses in 92 career games.
The 28-year-old had four interceptions, 17 pass defenses and 47 total tackles in 17 games last season.
“Indianapolis’ heavy zone defense is an excellent fit for Bradberry,” Wharton wrote. “The 28-year-old began his career in a similar scheme in Carolina and has developed over the last four years into an above-average starter.”
An NFL starter since his rookie season in 2016, Bradberry would immediately become the most experienced cornerback on the Colts if traded to Indianapolis.
Colts Possess Advantage in Potential James Bradberry Trade Offer
Bradberry is a trade candidate this offseason because he has only one year remaining on his contract, and the Giants aren’t expected to contend in the NFC East. With the final year left on his three-year contract signed in 2020, Bradberry is set to count as about a $21.9 million cap hit for this upcoming season.
In order to trade Bradberry for anything worthwhile, Wharton speculates the Giants will have to keep some of the cornerback’s salary.
But with the Colts possessing $21.7 million in salary cap space, fourth-most in the NFL according to Spotrac, Indianapolis could take on more of Bradberry’s contract than other teams. That could lower the trade price for the Colts.
Wharton proposed the Giants trade Bradberry to the Colts for the No. 159 overall pick in the fifth round this year and a 2023 sixth-rounder. With this deal, the Colts would keep their top three selections in the 2022 NFL Draft.
In an article published on March 27, Giants beat writer Pat Leonard of The New York Daily News mentioned the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs, along with the Colts, as teams to watch for a potential Bradberry trade.
Bradberry posted 54 combined tackles, three interceptions and 18 pass defenses during the 2020 season on his way to the Pro Bowl.