Much of the Las Vegas Raiders‘ offseason focus will be on finding a replacement for quarterback Derek Carr. However, there are some major needs all over the roster. Upgrading the secondary should be high on the priorities list for the team.
When James Bradberry was cut by the New York Giants before the 2022 season, the Raiders seemed like a logical fit. The team hired defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who had coached the cornerback the previous two seasons. Instead, Bradberry ended up with the Philadelphia Eagles and has formed one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL with Darius Slay.
Bradberry will be a free agent this offseason and should have many suitors considering he was named to an All-Pro team for the first time in his career. Pro Football Focus is urging the Raiders to pursue the cornerback:
A reunion with defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who coached Bradberry on the Giants from 2020-21, makes a lot of sense here for a team in need of major help at outside cornerback. This past year’s Week 1 starters at outside cornerback in Rock Ya-Sin and Anthony Averett are both pending free agents, and while the Raiders did get some solid play from younger cornerbacks down the stretch, it remains to be seen if they’ll slot in as long-term starters.
Bradberry’s 80.2 coverage grade in 2022 was the highest of his career, just ahead of his best overall season in 2020 with the aforementioned Graham serving as the defensive coordinator with the Giants and good for 11th among cornerbacks on the season.
Eagles May Not Be Able to Afford Bradberry
Bradberry has got a pretty great situation with the Eagles. Slay is the No. 1 cornerback so he takes a lot of pressure off of Bradberry. That’s allowed him to have the best season of his career. The Eagles are also a great team and finished with the best record in the NFC. All of those factors will give Philadelphia the upper hand when trying to re-sign Bradberry.
However, the Eagles have a number of high-profile free agents on defense. Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, linebacker T.J. Edwards, safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and defensive end Brandon Graham are all on expiring contracts. It’s going to be difficult to pay all of them. Bradberry could be one of the most likely ones who doesn’t get a new deal as he’s going to be 30 when next season starts and there should be other teams willing to pay him well.
Bradberry Makes a Lot of Sense With Raiders
Bradberry went to a Pro Bowl in 2020 when he was coached by Patrick Graham. He played well under the coach. If the Eagles can’t pay Bradberry, the Raiders should be one of the most appealing situations to him. With quarterback Derek Carr’s contract likely coming off of the books, they’ll have much more money to play with. They could throw a contract Bradberry’s way that pays him over $10 million a year.
There wouldn’t be a learning curve for him as he already knows Graham’s defense well. The Raiders may have to use their first-round pick on a quarterback so it’ll be difficult to find an instant impact player at cornerback later in the draft. Signing a proven veteran like Bradberry would give the team more flexibility in the draft to address other needs.