Could James Bradberry Be Released After Eagles Double-Dip At CB in 2024 Draft?

Could James Bradberry be the odd man out in the Eagles' secondary after Philadelphia used their first two draft picks on defensive backs?

Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman was not pleased with how his secondary performed down the stretch and for most of the 2023 season. His actions following the year have only shown how furious he appears.

After signing free agent safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to a three-year contract, the Eagles continued to bolster their secondary in the 2024 NFL Draft. Their top two picks were both on defensive backs in Toldeo’s Quinyon Mitchell and Iowa’s Cooper DeJean.

With Mitchell and DeJean now on the roster and the cornerback room very crowded, the last question remaining on Roseman’s docket is what will happen to last year’s starting cornerback James Bradberry.

James Bradberry’s Future With Eagles Clouded

When Bradberry signed a three-year contract with the Eagles last offseason, the belief was that the team was going to run the secondary back.

The 2023 season did not go how Bradberry wanted it to, though.

The former Panther and Giant gave up a 108.3 passer rating, along with nine touchdowns and five penalties. He was repeatedly picked on and gave up over 100 yards receiving in Philadelphia’s 32-9 playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Making matters worse was his tackling took a true nosedive last season.

With so many structural issues on the Eagles’ defense last season, it’s no wonder Philadelphia addressed the secondary in droves over the last few months.

However, Philadelphia’s draft moves could signal their plans for a struggling player like Bradberry.

Eagles’ Cornerback Depth Chart

Before the draft, it appeared like a forgone conclusion that Bradberry would return to the Eagles and the team would give him every chance needed to bounce back from a miserable 2023 campaign.

Behind him were young players like Kelee Ringo, Josh Jobe, and Eli Ricks. Even recently reinstated Isaiah Rodgers provided solid depth, but there were still questions heading into the new year.

Now, with Mitchell and DeJean in the mix, the Eagles have a crowded room and not enough roster spots to hold everyone. Depending on how both youngsters fair early on, it’s safe to assume one or both will be starting Week 1.

When it comes to Mitchell, PFN’s Ian Cummings has said he “has the physical foundation of a high-level playmaker, and he has the instincts of one, too.”

“Particularly in off-man and zone, he’s adept at recognizing routes and breaking early on passes, and at the catch point, he’s coordinated, authoritative, and exhaustive with his length,” Cummings later wrote.

In Vic Fangio’s defense, Mitchell could be a mainstay quite early on.

 

The same could also be said for DeJean, although maybe not in the same position.

DeJean played everywhere on the Hawkeye’s defense and could be best suited at safety in the Kyle Hamilton role for Philadelphia.

To Cummings, DeJean “projects especially well as a field safety with slot and boundary versatility. As a safety, DeJean would be able to play with his eyes to the ball most often. He manages and plays in space with proficiency, has universal alignment versatility in the zone and off-man coverage, and is a playmaking force at multiple levels.”

Before the draft, Bradberry’s future seemed secure. Now, with Mitchell and DeJean at the helm, that’s far less likely.

Bradberry’s Contract Details

Bradberry signed a three-year deal worth $38 million with $20 million guaranteed last offseason. If the Birds were to make the former Giant and Panther a post-June 1 release, the team would not save any money on the salary cap. Instead, it would simply lower his dead cap charge to just over $4 million for this season and around $11 million in 2025.

Lowering the dead cap hit is something the Eagles could be interested in future years, though. With Darius Slay’s contract also carrying a dead cap hit of over $20 million following the 2024 season, it’s increasingly likely the Eagles will be looking to move on from both of the cornerbacks that started Super Bowl LVII.

KEEP READING: Philadelphia Eagles Final NFL Draft Grades 2024

So, should Philadelphia release Bradberry to even out the cap charge? With Mitchell and DeJean now on the roster, the Birds are going to end up releasing talented players, regardless if it’s a veteran or a young prospect.

At the very least, it’s easier to move on from Bradberry with the understanding that his poor play could be a sign of future decline as opposed to getting rid of a young player.

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