NY Giants running out of options on James Bradberry contract

NY Giants, James Bradberry (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
NY Giants, James Bradberry (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images) /

Perhaps the worst kept secret of the Joe Schoen era so far is that the NY Giants are looking to move on from James Bradberry. It is not a reflection of the player himself, with Bradberry still playing as the CB1 in 2021, but rather an inability to pay his current salary.

As it stands, the Giants have an “effective cap space” of -$7.2 million, according to ‘Over The Cap‘ – a number that takes into account the cost of signing the team’s rookie draft class. If they are forced to cut Bradberry, rather than find a trade destination, the savings against the salary cap will be over $10 million – enough to allow the Giants to sign their 2022 rookies.

It appears as though a trade for James Bradberry will not materialize

Over the past week, two of the most promising situations for a Bradberry trade to materialize have disappeared. The first was the 2022 NFL draft. With draft picks representing an NFL team’s most easily transferable capital, the draft presented the best chance for the Giants to strike a trade deal for Bradberry. Unfortunately, the draft weekend has now come and gone, and it appeared that the Giants and Joe Schoen did not see much interest in the star cornerback from other franchises.

The second was the Kansas City Chiefs, who were rumored to be interested in trading for Bradberry and at one point appeared to be the most likely destination. The team drafted a cornerback in the first round in Trent McDuffie, but they were certainly not out of the market for a proven veteran cornerback like Bradberry. They likely are now, however, trading for Houston Texans cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. on Monday, as reported by Ian Rapoport.

There are only two remaining options for Schoen and the NY Giants regarding Bradberry

The most obvious is that they will have to cut the player to clear salary space. It has long been the outcome the Giants have tried to avoid, even electing to accept the $2 million of his salary which became guaranteed as the new year began with hopes he would be traded by now.

The second option they have is to look at a restructure/ extension to make his salary hit in 2022 more manageable. Teams are certainly experienced with this kind of mechanism by now, and it is likely something they would be able to execute.

However, it is would appear unlikely Schoen and the Giants will do so, at least in my opinion. The previous regime under Dave Gettleman extended and restructured several Giants contracts, pushing cap hits into later years. Unfortunately, that is now the reason the Giants are in the situation they are, with an inability to sign new players and at this stage even sign their draft class.

One interesting point to note is that the Giants did not elect to draft a like-for-like replacement for Bradberry over the weekend. Instead, they drafted a slot corner in Cordale Flott, who will likely push Aaron Robinson to the outside spot left open by Bradberry, should he leave. While likely not a reflection of the team looking to keep Bradberry, it certainly leaves a spot open for him should the new front office elect to keep the star cornerback in New York.

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With the Giants draft class flying into East Rutherford this week, and the potential trade destinations for Bradberry looking more scarce than ever, it is likely we see movement on Bradberry sooner rather than later. While weirder things have happened, at least in my opinion Bradberry will not be on the Giants in 2022 – one final salary cap causality from the poorly run Dave Gettleman Era in New York.