The Giants appear to be on the verge of officially adding a much-needed piece to their defense. On Monday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that the Giants are going to sign free agent cornerback James Bradberry to a three-year, $45 million deal with $32 million guaranteed. No teams can officially sign a player until the league's new year begins at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
The 62nd overall pick in the 2016 draft, the 6-foot-1, 212-pound Bradberry started in each of his 60 career regular season games with the Panthers. During his time in Carolina, Bradberry tallied 279 tackles, eight interceptions, 47 passes defensed, and two forced fumbles. Last season, Bradberry recorded a career-high three interceptions along with 12 passes defensed.
Late last month, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that Bradberry was hoping to sign a deal that would pay him about $15 million per season. Bradberry, according to Fowler, believed that his combination of size/speed, production, and pedigree covering the NFC South's top receivers (Julio Jones, Mike Evans, Michael Thomas) over the past four seasons would help his argument with regard to receiving a big contract.
Bradberry is slated to join a Giants' defense that finished 30th in the league in scoring, 28th in passing and 20th in both rushing and in red zone efficiency last season. New York's issues on the defensive side of the ball is part of the reason why the Giants replaced former head coach Pat Shurmur with Joe Judge, who spent three seasons on Nick Saban's staff at Alabama (winning two national championships) before joining Bill Belichick's staff in New England in 2012. Judge has hired fellow former Patriots assistant Patrick Graham to be the Giants' new defensive coordinator. Graham, who served as the Dolphins' defensive coordinator last season, was New York's defensive line coach during the 2016 and '17 seasons.
Bradberry will not be the last significant piece added to the Giants' defense over the next two months, as New York is armed with 10 draft picks and roughly $57.2 minion in cap space, according to Over The Cap.
Below, you will find a short game film breakdown of what Bradberry was able to accomplish with the Panthers.
With the signing of Bradberry, the Giants may elect to spend the fourth pick in the 2020 draft on another position and not on acquiring Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah. The Giants are now projected to select Iowa offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs with the pick, assuaging that the Lions are going to use the third overall pick on Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons.