Eagles Keep CB James Bradberry on 3-Year Deal

Philadelphia Eagles CB James Bradberry
Philadelphia Eagles CB James Bradberry
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Offseason - The Philadelphia Eagles are set to bring back second-team All-Pro cornerback James Bradberry, agreeing to a three-year deal worth $38 million, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter.  

"I went back because of the familiarity with the coaching staff, because I love the city and playing for the Eagles," Bradberry said on his decision to return, via CBS Sports' Josina Anderson. "They also 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 in 2022 after he was made a cap casualty by the New York Giants and proceeded to have a career year. Bradberry allowed 26 catches on 72 targets for a career-low 4.2 yards per attempt. That 36.1% completion percentage allowed is the lowest among all defensive backs with at least 12 games played. Bradberry also recorded 13 pass breakups, tied for ninth-most in the NFL, as well as three interceptions. 


24 comments, Last at 16 Mar 2023, 4:14am

#1 by whocares4 // Mar 14, 2023 - 5:59pm

In before Pat pops up to explain why this is actually a bad move that will hurt their cap.

Points: 6

#3 by Pat // Mar 14, 2023 - 6:03pm

At 3 years, $38M? Why in the world would I say that? That's a great deal for Philly. Seriously amazed there weren't higher offers out there.

I mean, the Giants gave him 3 years $43.5M back in 2020 and ended up paying 2 yrs $30.15M. Three years ago!

Points: 0

#4 by Oncorhynchus // Mar 14, 2023 - 6:17pm

Three years ago he was 27.

"Look at this sweet Honda Civic. The last owner bought it for $6000. Three years and 30,000 miles later I got it for $4000. What a steal! Slaps hood, you know how many holding penalties I can fit in this thing?" 

Points: 0

#6 by Pat // Mar 14, 2023 - 6:36pm

Three years ago the cap was like $50M less. Philly signed Slay at 30 for 3 years, $50M (effectively in '21).

I actually mostly agree with you that I probably wouldn't've chosen to do it, but they're pretty obviously not taking the offseason tack that I would have, so it's kindof a moot point. On the path they're going on, it's a good deal. Just not sure it'll work out the way they want. 

Points: 0

#2 by Oncorhynchus // Mar 14, 2023 - 6:03pm

This is a bad move. That will hurt their youth. It seems more than a little risky to bet your secondary on two 30+ year old dudes.

Richard Sherman's last good season: age 31

Stephon Gilmore's last good season: age 29

Aqib Talib's last good season: age 31

Casey Heyward's last good season: age 28

Xavier Rhodes last good season: age 29

Darius Slay and James Bradberry last good season?

Points: -1

#5 by halfjumpsuit // Mar 14, 2023 - 6:28pm

What youth? Their internal options are second year Zech McPhearson, who pretty much only sees the field in blowouts; and Josh Jobe, a 24 year old rookie.

Points: 0

#7 by Oncorhynchus // Mar 14, 2023 - 6:38pm

I'd rather pay 24 year old Josh Jobe $0.8M to see what he has (or draft a rookie and see what he has), then be stuck paying $35M to Slay over the next two years and $38M to Bradberry over the next 3. 


Points: 0

#10 by Oncorhynchus // Mar 14, 2023 - 6:47pm


That is, if you mean this year.

If you mean next year, then, yeah, I know. But they're still on the hook for $14M in dead money next year. 

Points: 0

#12 by halfjumpsuit // Mar 14, 2023 - 7:03pm

This year. It doesn't really matter when they trade or, more likely, cut him, they save cap space whether it's before or after June and won't own any additional cap charges or cash, so it's just a matter of whether they want to eat all the dead cap space this season or split it over two.

Points: 0

#15 by Pat // Mar 14, 2023 - 8:03pm

The downside to designating Slay as a post-June 1 is you get zero cap relief until June 2nd. Cutting him gets you a few $M immediately. Slay and Johnson were the only handles they had for cap relief, so it's likely they'd release him as a post June 1. You always should spread cap hits if you can. Baffles me when teams don't. You don't have to use the space if you don't need it (it'll roll over) but if you need it and don't have it... that's a problem.

Some part of me also wonders whether or not the team might write "triggers" into new contracts to survive until June 2nd this year. For instance, for Kelce, you could say "Y1 salary ('23) is $1.5M, Y2 salary ('24) is $13.75M, fully guaranteed. If the player is on the roster on June 2nd, Y2 voids and an option bonus of $13.75M is paid" or something similar.

Points: 0

#20 by mansteel // Mar 15, 2023 - 11:46am

"The downside to designating Slay as a post-June 1 is you get zero cap relief until June 2nd."

I've heard this elsewhere but don't understand it. Can you not be over the cap in the offseason? We hear all the time about how team x (where x = the Saints, usually) is like $70 million over the cap for next year. 

In other words, couldn't a team that has no current cap space sign a guy anyway and figure out how to get under the cap afterwards as long as they are in compliance by week 1 of the season?

Points: 0

#23 by Pat // Mar 15, 2023 - 12:12pm

Can you not be over the cap in the offseason?

That's right, you can't. You need to be cap compliant for 2023 by the start of the league year in 2023, not start of season. The cap works a bit differently in the offseason, though, only the top 51 cap hit players on the roster actually count. Once the season starts, it's everyone on your roster.

The reason teams end up hugely over the cap is typically because they've got a ton of guys signed, because it's better to have more guys signed (that you can cut) than fewer guys signed. You've got their rights, after all, which have value. Now, if you want to go into the next year with all of them, sometimes you have to borrow money from the future by spreading out money. The reason the Saints can be like $70M over for 2023 last month is because we weren't in 2023 yet (until 4 PM today).

Designated post-June 1 cuts work a bit differently though. Basically what you're doing is saying "we're going to pretend we cut you after June 1, but you can go sign with another team now." But because you're "pretending" that the player's cut after June 1, you actually carry his normal cap hit (salary + proration) until June 1, and then the salary drops off.

What this means is that a designated post-June 1 cut cannot help you get under the cap. You have to get under the cap some other way. And it can't help you with base salary guys - if you only have $500k in cap space, a post-June 1 cut cannot help you sign a player. You can still functionally use the space, it's just tougher.

Points: 0

#11 by Pat // Mar 14, 2023 - 6:49pm

then be stuck paying $35M to Slay over the next two years

The money to Slay was already spent. It's gone. It just hasn't hit the cap. They borrowed from the future for it. He's $17M this year. That's what it costs for him to play.

I do agree they shouldn't be keeping Slay. That last year was supposed to be filler/force renegotiate. They just screwed themselves by borrowing as much as they had. In my ideal world, at this point, they'd designate Slay as a post-June 1 release (saving $17M, but not for free agency) and draft a CB high.

Bradberry's contract is completely reasonable for a 30-year old CB. Moreso than Slay's was!

Points: 0

#13 by Oncorhynchus // Mar 14, 2023 - 7:35pm

Can they post June-1 Slay though? I thought they needed those for Graham and Cox. I haven't seen details on Graham's new contract, but doesn't his old one still void in a few days?

Points: 0

#14 by Pat // Mar 14, 2023 - 7:55pm

Yup, they can. Skip to the bottom for the TL;DR.

Let me clear up some terminology for others not familiar. Contracts can have void years, they can have functional void years, and they can have poison pill years.

Void years are automatic: the contract says "on March 1st, 2022, this contract voids," and then the player becomes a free agent normally, just like what happened with Hargrave. These players count as compensatory free agents. It's exactly the same as if the player's contract ended, except all the prorated money occurs in the year after the last.

Functional void years are years when the contract just spikes to insane levels at the end, like Tyreek Hill's "I'm a QB!" final year, or AJ Brown's $30M final year. Teams will release a player in a functional void year, or renegotiate the contract, before free agency because you have to be in cap compliance and, well, it's not practical. These players will not count as CFAs.

Poison pill years are like void years + functional void years combined. You have an extra year tacked on with a min salary, and at some point, a poison pill trips (like, if you're on the roster on March 17th or something) and your salary escalates to $50M or something crazy (I usually say one billion dollars because it doesn't matter). This is here, again, to force the player to be released (so they will not be a CFA) but released as a post-June 1 cut, so the salary in that cut year stays small because of the mechanics of post-June 1 cuts.

Graham, Cox, and Kelce had poison pill years. Graham and Cox had poison pills as of the 2nd day in free agency, Kelce had a poison pill for June 3rd because he didn't care about free agency.

Poison pill contracts stay active straight up through the poison pill. Just like functional voids. Which means the team can renegotiate with the player straight up until then, and when they reach an agreement, you strike the poison pill. That had to have happened for Graham already (otherwise... he's a billion dollars, like I said).

Kelce's interesting because technically what the team could do is just modify the poison pill value (which was $30M for Kelce) to boost his salary into what they negotiated ($14.25M), and so they don't have to take the cap charge for Kelce until the poison pill hits (and then likely prorate it cuz they're still broke).


So the TL;DR for Graham is that his "new" contract is just his old contract, with the poison pill boost removed and the final year adjusted to the new value. He's always been under contract, no voids or anything. So they don't have to use a designated post-June 1 cut on Graham. Cox seems less eager to come back for peanuts, so they'll have to use one on him. But that leaves 1 left. 

The downside to post-June 1'ing Slay is that the $17M doesn't show up until June 2nd, and now the only mechanism they have to generate space is Lane, and that's not a lot. But that might be enough.

Points: 2

#18 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Mar 15, 2023 - 9:08am

Thanks for the clarity on void years, functional voids and poison pills.  Very helpful!

Points: 1

#22 by Pat // Mar 15, 2023 - 11:59am

FWIW I'm the only one who calls them functional void and poison pill years. I've never seen anyone else actually give a name to them, which is annoying since they're so common now.

If you're wondering why a team would ever use a functional void year vs a poison pill year, it's not for the team's benefit, it's for the player's benefit. It forces the team to extend/renegotiate the contract a year ahead of time, and also results in Agent Theater where Tyreek Hill can claim he's like, a $30M/yr receiver or whatever.

Points: 0

#24 by guest from Europe // Mar 16, 2023 - 4:14am

Apparently you were counting those June 1 cuts too early because all of these players are being re-signed. That is why it is better to think about and discuss something that did happen, not something that may or may not happen next year or in draft or some time.

Re-signing the older good veterans on the team and continue to compete is the way Saints and Bucs have been operating recently. It worked well for 2021 Bucs, less for 2022 Bucs. It worked for 2020 Saints, less for 2021 and 2022 Saints.

Points: -1

#8 by Pat // Mar 14, 2023 - 6:42pm

Both Slay and Bradberry's final years are their age 32 season, and if I had to take a wild guess, he's likely easily releasable for that year. Which means they're really only banking on 30/31. (Don't make me try to justify them trying to extend Slay, I can't, I really don't like that).

Slay's contract only turned unfortunate because of the money they borrowed. It's not actually Slay's contract that's the issue, this wasn't supposed to be a real year.

Points: 0

#16 by ImNewAroundThe… // Mar 14, 2023 - 8:18pm

Where did you get those random names to compare from? Should also edit "good" to pro bowl because (like I mentioned in the other thread) Gilmore was top 10 last year. Hayward* was also good the year prior, hence why ATL still has him, etc. (and Slay made the PB the last two years anyway)

We gotta get out of this mentality of 30 and done. If youre still rocking at an older age, maybe treat them a little different!

Points: 0

#19 by Harris // Mar 15, 2023 - 9:17am

My guess is they use a high pick whether or not Slay is back. Howie loves redshirting draft picks and he was in the building (I think) when Reid/Banner drafted Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard when Taylor and Vincent were about the same as that Slay and Bradberry are now. Taylor and Vincent were still playing well too.

Points: 0

#21 by Pat // Mar 15, 2023 - 11:55am

And, now the reports come out that they're releasing Slay as a post-June 1 cut, so I guess I'm living in my ideal world...?

Makes a ton of sense now.

Points: 0

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