One of the biggest free agent additions the Indianapolis Colts have made this offseason has been at cornerback. But the Colts may not be done adding to that position.
New York Giants beat writer Pat Leonard of The Daily News reports the Giants are “expected to unload” cornerback James Bradberry in a trade. Leonard mentioned to the Colts, along with the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs, as teams to watch in the upcoming Bradberry sweepstakes.
“All three of those teams have salary cap space and a need at outside corner,” wrote Leonard.
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James Bradberry was a 2020 Pro Bowler
The 28-year-old cornerback has started since his rookie season after the Carolina Panthers drafted him in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He played four seasons with the Panthers, posting eight interceptions, 47 pass defenses, 3.0 sacks and 380 combined tackles in 60 games.
Bradberry signed a three-year, $43.5 million contract with the Giants prior to the 2020 season. That year, the cornerback became a Pro Bowler with three interceptions, 18 pass defenses, two forced fumbles and 54 combined tackles.
In 2021, he posted a career-high four interceptions with 17 pass defenses, two fumble recoveries and 47 combined tackles.
Bradberry, who turns 29 in August, is under contract for one more season. Spotrac reports he will count as a $21.8 million cap hit this season if the Giants don’t trade him. But as seen with the Matt Ryan trade, the Colts won’t take on that entire cap hit if they acquire him.
Indianapolis still has a little more than $22 million in salary cap space to spend this offseason, which Spotrac ranks fifth-most in the NFL as of March 28.
Bradberry Could Fill Hole Left from Rock Ya-Sin Trade
The Colts entered free agency set to lose veteran cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Then, Indianapolis traded fellow cornerback Rock Ya-Sin for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.
While the Colts signed cornerback Brandon Facyson to a one-year deal, they still have 2021 snaps available in the defensive backfield. Rhodes and Ya-Sin each played more than 50% of the team’s defensive snaps last season.
Trading for Bradberry would give the Colts two very dependable cornerbacks and move Facyson to the team’s No. 3 cornerback, where he might fit better. In four NFL seasons, Facyson has played more than 50% of his team’s defensive snaps just once He played 51.9% of the Raiders’ defensive snaps in 2021.
Bradberry led the Giants defense, playing 99.14% of the team’s defensive snaps last season. Colts top cornerback Kenny Moore was second on the team in 2021, lining up for 97.43% of the team’s defensive snaps.
But while the Colts have the cap space to trade for Bradberry, they are not overflowing with draft capital. Indianapolis possesses seven picks in the 2022 NFL Draft and don’t have a selection until Day 2 with pick No. 42.
While it’s not likely to take a first-round pick to acquire Bradberry, Leonard wrote that Houston and Kansas City are interesting potential trade partners with the Giants because of their allotment of draft selections.
“The Texans and Chiefs are both overflowing with draft capital this year,” Leonard wrote. “Houston has two high picks in both the third and fourth rounds of this year’s draft.”
Trading for Bradberry could mean the Colts only make one selection in the Top 100 this year. And in return, Indianapolis would be landing a player that could be gone in free agency next spring.