BRONCOS

Should the Broncos pursue former Giants cornerback James Bradberry?

May 10, 2022, 6:30 AM
James Bradberry...
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos want to make a playoff push in 2022. That’s more likely now with superstar Russell Wilson leading the way.

But in order to do that, they’ll need to play well in the toughest division in football – the AFC West. They have a solid team overall, but there are spots on the roster which could use more depth.

One of those positions is at cornerback. Yes, Patrick Surtain has superstar upside and is playing on a rookie contract. Yes, Ronald Darby is here for one more season at least as a veteran starter on the outside. Yes, K’Waun Williams is a top free agent addition who should do a great job at the slot position for the Broncos in 2022.

However, the team needs depth behind Darby – or they need to find a replacement who could start over Darby.
That player could be James Bradberry.

It was revealed on Monday that the New York Giants had released Bradberry. Now, he’s on the open market. The Giants were trying to trade Bradberry away this offseason, but teams knew they wanted to get rid of him (for salary cap purposes) and decided to wait them out. Now, Bradberry is free to sign with any team he wants.

Should the Broncos make a run at the veteran cornerback? Let’s take a look.

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Teammates Love Him

It’s a good sign when teammates will publicly praise a player. After Bradberry was released, his former teammates with the Giants came forward on social networking to support him. The Broncos have a strong locker room and adding a player beloved by his teammates like Bradberry would be a good thing.

There is a new culture being built with the Broncos. There’s also a design of adding the top talent available since Wilson is here and the team is in a Super Bowl window. The energy in the building is high, and adding a player like Bradberry would show just how serious the Broncos are about making a championship run – not in a few years, but as soon as possible.

Bradberry is a favorite of teammates, and I think he’d be a good fit in Denver. The Broncos must find more competition for Darby. He’s a weak spot on the roster even though he’s a solid player. Darby is fine, but the Broncos could find an upgrade. It’s going to cost any team who signs Bradberry, but there’s always enough money for teams if they want. At this time, the Broncos have around $12.9 million in cap space. That’s enough to sign the rookie class, but there’s not much room for anything else.

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PBUs by the Dozen

It doesn’t take advanced data to see how much of an impact Bradberry can make on the field. Over the last few years, Bradberry is one of the leaders when it comes to pass breakups. It’s not just about breaking up passes, it’s about getting your hands on them – and that’s something Bradberry does at a much higher rate than Darby.

Over the last three seasons, Bradberry has 10 interceptions – including four picks last season with the Giants. During his entire career in the NFL, Darby only has eight interceptions – and he’s been in the league since 2015.

Opposing quarterbacks will go after Bradberry if the Broncos were to add him to the roster. However, he’s got the skill to make them pay if and when they do that. There is no doubt that Surtain is going to change the way opponents go after the Broncos defense, so the Broncos need to have a better corner than Darby opposite of him.

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Chiefs Interested, Vegas Too

If Bradberry doesn’t land with the Broncos, he could end up in the AFC West. The Kansas City Chiefs are the top team in the division, and according to NFL Insider Aaron Wilson they are considered a top landing spot for Bradberry. The Chiefs have already upgraded their defense in a big way, particularly with two first-round picks on the defensive side. Adding Bradberry would make them even more dangerous.

Bradberry’s former defensive coordinator with the Giants, Patrick Graham, is now the defensive coordinator for the Las Vegas Raiders. He knows Bradberry well, and I’m certain he’ll be pushing for the team to add Bradberry now that he’s a free agent. With just a little over $5 million in salary cap space, the Raiders would have to do some post-June 1 salary cap gymnastics to make room for Bradberry.

Should the Broncos block other teams in their division by signing Bradberry? I don’t think that should be their main motivation for adding him, but it does help the argument. If the Chiefs were to get Bradberry, their strengthened defense in the draft would get even stronger. To get through the AFC West, the Broncos need to be at their best. Right now, the Broncos have the makings of a good team who could get hot at the right time. They need to do everything they can to upgrade the roster so they can look great and like a team to be reckoned with when the playoffs get here.

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