There wasn't going to be a contract extension or a pay cut. A trade market never materialized. And the New York Giants, wary of creating more financial problems for themselves down the line, quickly learned that money doesn't go on trees and that they had no choice but to terminate cornerback James Bradberry's contract.
And so it goes. Bradberry, who signed a three-year, $45 million deal in the 2020 off-season and then had his first Pro Bowl season, became too expensive for the severely cap-strapped Giants to carry this season. Thus he is now an ex-Giant who, despite now having a trade market develop for him, is expected to land on his feet quickly.
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Here's a look at some of the key questions about this saga.
5 Questions About Giants' Release of James Bradberry
Why did the Giants target Bradberry's contract and not Leonard Williams or Kenny Golladay's?
Of all the big-ticket contracts with guaranteed money st to hit this year, Bradberry's $2 million (which he received as part of last year's restructure) made the most sense to do something with. Leonard Williams, Kenny Colladay, and Adoree' Jackson all have far more guaranteed money in their deals for this year, and the Giants, perhaps envisioning a scenario where they might have to move on from Bradberry figured this would be the easiest of the possible breakups.
What's the Cost Savings?
That depends on whether the Giants designate Bradberry as a pre-June 1 or post-June 1 move. If it's the former, they'll save $10.1 million and take an $11.7 million dead money hit. (The Giants are on the hook for $2 million in guaranteed salary owed to Bradberry this year, but they will get that back as a credit next year.)
If the Giants designate Bradberry as a post-June 1 cut, which makes more sense, they'll save $11.5 million and hit a $10.4 million dead money cap chart. The remaining $1.4 million in dead money will hit their 2023 cap, at which point, again, the $2 million credit they're going to get will pretty much cancel out the dead money charge, leaving the Giants with a $600,000 credit.
Because Bradberry isn't believed to have shown up to the team's off-season program, the team will save the $100,000 workout bonus he received.
Why didn't the Giants trade Bradberry to keep him away from the Eagles or any NFC East team for that matter?
General manager Joe Schoen tried, but in the end, it might not be a stretch to say that he misjudged the market in this case. Schoen did have talks with other teams, and it was rumored that the best offer he had received for a cornerback that's a year removed from a Pro Bowl berth was a third-round pick.
If true, then Schoen apparently wanted more in return, which he wasn't going to get.
Why? Teams that needed cornerback help not only knew they had the draft at their disposal to fill that need but ask yourself this: What team in its right mind would trade away assets knowing that if they held firm, the Giants, whose cap situation is well-known, would eventually be forced to terminate the contract?
That's probably why the Giants reportedly offered to absorb some of Bradberry's base salary. But it wasn't going to be enough to get the deal done.
Why didn't Bradberry take a pay cut? Surely he won't get $13.4 million o the open market?
One never knows, does one? Maybe a team with cap money to spare will pay him more between a signing bonus and incentives.
But to the point, this isn't a situation where Bradberry was coming off an injury. His performance didn't decline, and he's still removed from the Pro Bowl one year. What good reason was there for him to take a pay cut?
Some might say it's to help the Giants out, but let's be real here. Is it Bradberry's fault the cap spun so far out of control to where he should have to give money back, and the rest of his teammates don't?
So Now What?
The release of Bradberry creates a hole in the defensive secondary, but the Giants do have some options. Second-year player Aaron Robinson figures to be the incumbent for the starting job. The team also drafted CorDale Flott in the third round, and they have Rodarius Williams, Jarren Williams, and Darnay Holmes, who will likely get a look for the job.
Once the Giants sign their draft class--the purpose behind the team's needing Bradberry's cap money--don't be surprised if they add a low-cost veteran to the group.
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