Last week, the Eagles were staring at the unheard of possibility of having to replace their entire secondary. They had three free agents plus a cornerback whose agent was shopping around for a trade.
By Tuesday, their secondary situation — while still tenuous — improved greatly with the ESPN report that free agent cornerback James Bradberry and the Eagles had agreed to a three-year deal.
Bradberry’s deal is enormous news for the Eagles, who expected to see him sign with another team. After the Eagles’ 14-3, Super Bowl season, Bradberry said he was looking to get paid and he wasn’t going to “play for cheap”. He expected a contract commensurate with his second-team All-Pro status.
Bradberry’s deal is worth a reported $38 million, including $20 million fully guaranteed and another $6 million in incentives, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Bradberry said he accepted less money to return to the Eagles.
Free agents can sign starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Bradberry had three interceptions, 17 passes defended, a 51.6 passer rating when targeted and 44 tackles. Bradberry had an interception against his former team, the Giants, in the divisional round playoff game.
Signing Bradberry, 29, became one of the Eagles’ most important offseason priorities. Bradberry fit seamlessly into the Eagles secondary, pairing up with Darius Slay to create one of the NFL’s most formidable cornerback combinations.
The Eagles’ pass defense was ranked No. 1 in the NFL, allowing 179.8 yards per game. The Eagles’ defense ranked second.
Bradberry was ranked eighth in NFL.com‘s top 101 free agents list. Bradberry was ranked 11th in The Athletic’s top free agent list.
- “I went back because of the familiarity with the coaching staff, because I love the city and playing for the Eagles,” CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson quoted Bradberry on Twitter.
- “They gave me a deal around what I was looking for. Yes, there were other teams that offered me more, but I feel like Philly fit me the best.”
The Eagles signed Bradberry to a one-year deal last spring after the Giants released him to save salary-cap money. Bradberry’s 2022 contract was for $7.5 million.
Bradberry was involved in the Super Bowl’s most controversial play. He was called for holding late in the fourth quarter, giving the Chiefs a fresh set of downs and setting up the winning, chip-shot field goal.
Bradberry admitted after the game that he did hold Kansas City wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Many critics believed the penalty call was ticky-tack and shouldn’t have called that late in a Super Bowl.
The Eagles’ free agent secondary work is hardly complete. Safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who remains unsigned, is a top priority. Safety Marcus Epps reportedly is leaving for the Raiders. Meanwhile, Slay’s agent is looking for a trade partner.