James Bradberry was the big New York Giants free agency splash in 2020, and he has proved so far to be worth every single penny of his $43.5 million contract. If Bradberry keeps his level of play at a high standard, he could be considered by many to be an elite cornerback.
The Impact of Bradberry
When Bradberry was signed, there was no doubt that he would be the CB1 on a struggling Giants defense. While CB2 has been a rotation of players, Bradberry has solidified his side of the field through five weeks. So far, Bradberry has totaled 17 tackles, nine passes defensed, one interception, and one forced fumble. His nine breakups lead the entire NFL. Bradberry has surrendered just 157 yards and two touchdowns, some may argue and say he has really only given up one, but we’ll stick with two.
Bringing Bradberry in has taken the pressure off of the defense to find the opposing team’s best receiver and make sure he is covered at all times. He held Amari Cooper to one catch for eight yards and Allen Robinson to 33 yards on just three catches. He has taken the opposing team’s best wideout completely out of games, which is exactly what the Giants hoped he would do when they signed him earlier in the offseason.
Outlook After 0-5
While Bradberry is playing at an exceptional level to start off the 2020 season, the Giants as a team are not. The team is 0-5, with the offense being the main culprit. The one thing fans can expect to see from Bradberry for the rest of the year is him making plays. While he can take an opposing team’s number one receiver out of the game, he can also be a problem when it comes to takeaways and making plays near the ball. Bradberry has one interception on the year, but also a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He is currently on pace for 28 pass breakups, and he could possibly break Darrelle Revis‘ record of 31 in a season.
According to Pro Football Focus, James Bradberry has been their second highest graded corner this year, Jaire Alexander being the first. Not hearing a cornerback’s name throughout any game is a good thing, and the only time we have heard Bradberry’s name is when he has been making plays. The Giants’ defense surprised everyone this season, playing exceptionally above expectations and being the strength of the team while the offense struggles. The 27-year-old corner has played a huge part in this defense becoming better.
While general manager Dave Gettleman has and still will be heavily criticized for the way this Giants team has been built, you cannot take away the James Bradberry signing. It felt like destiny when Gettleman signed Bradberry, as he had drafted him when he was the general manager of the Carolina Panthers.
This Giants defense has played great so far this year, and a lot of that credit has to be pointed towards Patrick Graham, the defensive coordinator. However, James Bradberry is a key part to the defense’s success and will be for years to come.