Panthers Signing Bradberry is a Must

Schuyler Callihan

The Carolina Panthers will be faced with a tough task this off-season as several key members of the defense have expired contracts and will be looking for a new deal. One of the biggest pieces of the defense that will be in the hunt for a new contract is lockdown corner James Bradberry.

The four year man out of Samford has emerged as one of the top 15-20 corners in the league and should see a generous bump in his new salary. Bradberry's rookie contract has ran out, making him an unrestricted free agent for the first time and will have a bevy of teams interested in his services. 

This past season, Bradberry totaled 65 tackles, three interceptions and was one of the toughest corners to complete a pass against allowing only 58 receptions for 644 yards and one touchdown. 

What could be troubling is the fact that Bradberry has expressed interest in following Ron Rivera to Washington, which could make for a tough "recruiting" battle. It makes even more sense for the Redskins to be interested in Bradberry now that they have released former Panthers cornerback Josh Norman. 

Some feel that Bradberry may be a candidate for the franchise tag, which may not be the worst scenario, especially if the Panthers feel like a multi-year deal won't get done or if other suitors make a strong push to snatch him away. Regardless of whether it's a franchise tag or a shiny new multi-year investment, Carolina must find a way to keep Bradberry in a Panthers uniform. 

If we are being brutally honest, there's not much depth at the corner position. There is some promising young talent, but is it talent that can be relied on this early in their NFL careers? That's to be determined. A lot of what the Panthers elect to do will depend on if they want to compete now or rebuild. Even then, signing Bradberry to a three or four year deal could be beneficial as he can help the team turn the corner and be contending within that three-to-four-year window.

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