Eagles corner James Bradberry embracing opportunity to play with Darius Slay




 

Bradberry's expectations of playing with Slay originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

For much of the offseason, James Bradberry was in limbo.

He was a New York Giant but not really. He was on the roster, but he knew the Giants were trying to trade him.

"I was very anxious because I didn't know what decision was going to be made," he said Tuesday. "A lot of anxiety during that period, but I knew just being patient and waiting and eventually things were going to shake out and I was going to be in the right place."

The longer the Giants held onto Bradberry, the more difficult it became for him to find a fair contract.

Because by the time he was released on May 9, free agency was two months old, all the top corners had found new homes and his options weren't the same as they would have been if he hit the market with everybody else.

"First of all, I understand that it's a business so I was putting my business cap on first and understanding that I'm an asset so I understand that they want something for me, so that was part of the game," he said.

"Personally, didn't necessarily like it, but it's a business at the end of the day and I understand that."

After a short flirtation with free agency, Bradberry signed a one-year, $7.25 million contract with the Eagles last week.

He said Tuesday he's looking forward to playing in front of Eagles fans as a home player and said he likes the defense Jonathan Gannon plays. But a big part of the appeal was playing alongside four-time Pro Bowler Darius Slay.

"I've been watching him since I've been in the league and I admire his game a lot and I feel like it'll be a great opportunity to learn from him but also play alongside him because he's a great corner," he said.

"Potential only gets you so far, so I don't want to speak on potential. I know individually we're pretty good. The goal is to be great together."

More: Ranking the top 10 cornerback duos in Eagles history

Bradberry is the Eagles' fifth significant addition on defense, following free agents Haason Reddick and Kyzir White and draft picks Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean.

"I think he's a really good addition for us," Gannon said. "He's a very versatile player. Smart, tough, physical, can get the ball, can cover.

"Anytime you have that type of skill set with your outside corners, it's a good asset to have. He allows us to play certain things predicated on what we're trying to stop that week, as Slay does, as all those guys do.

"That's why you look for complete players. Can they play off? Can they press? Can they play with vision? Can they play with man eyes?

"He does all that, and really with that type of player, it gives you flexibility with some of the coverages that you can play, which I like."

Bradberry said he likes the way Gannon mixes up zone and man coverages, which plays to his strength.

"I like to play this defense," he said. "It offers a multiple look, play zone and man and I think I make a lot of plays in both, so that's the reason I like the scheme.

"I feel like I'm a smart player and I feel like I can read concepts so that's what helps me out in zone coverages."

Bradberry has played at the Linc three times - with the Panthers in 2018 and with the Giants in 2020 and 2021.

It was always in the back of his mind that this was a place he wouldn't mind being.

"The team that they were building here and also getting an opportunity to play in front of these fans," he said. "I played in front of these fans a few times when I was in Carolina and also in New York and they're a pretty rowdy bunch so I thought that would be pretty fun."

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