March 21, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

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How All-Pro CB James Bradberry Decided the Eagles Were the Best — and Against the “Most Lucrative” Offers

James Bradbury was walking his fluffy French Bulldog, Izzy, outside his off-season residence in Atlanta on Tuesday night when he finally made his final decision.

The All-Pro cornerback agreed to terms with the Eagles on a three-year, $38 million deal with $20 million in guaranteed salaries.

“A breath of fresh air will give you a clear mind,” Bradbury told The Inquirer over the phone. He laughed before diving into the intricate details that led him to the Eagles.

“It means a lot, really, to be back in Philadelphia,” Bradbury said. “Especially after the season we just had. It’s good to come back and keep trying to compete for the ultimate goal which is the Super Bowl.

“Of course, I wanted to go somewhere where I get paid big — enough to where I feel comfortable. But I also wanted to get fit, too. That was important to me.”

Bradbury, who turns 30 in August, arrived in Philadelphia last season on a one-year deal worth up to $10 million after being victimized by the Giants. The veteran cornerback immediately cemented a division contender and helped cement the Eagles into the secondary as he starred across from cornerback Darius Slay. Aside from his consistent play, Bradbury earned his vindication when he selected former teammate and Giants quarterback Daniel Jones in the NFC Divisional Round.

While he was reported for making a controversial call that sealed the team’s fate at Super Bowl LVII, Bradberry has proven to be elite in many aspects. He enjoyed the best season of his career while allowing a 51.6 passer rating for a quarterback, which ranked second in the NFL. Since 2016, he leads all NFL defensive backs in passes defensed with 99.

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Bradbury acknowledged the great deal of uncertainty hanging over a defensive unit that ranks second in the NFL in 2022.

Prior to retaining Bradbury, the Eagles lost four defensive players in free agency, including defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, linebackers Keizer White and TJ Edwards, and safety Marcus Epps. Veteran defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and safety CJ Gardner Johnson are also free agents, while Slay is seeking new guaranteed money through his own contract.

Read more: Eagles give corner Darius Slay permission to look for trade

Bradbury also said he had received “more lucrative offers” from two other teams, but saw the Eagles’ run to Super Bowl LVII as “a preview of what’s to come” in terms of continued success. After he and his representative confirmed that the finances were in a “good place,” Bradbury noted the Eagles’ offense as well as his confidence in front office and general manager Howie Roseman.

“Of course, insulting us is really, really good,” Bradbury said. “And they’re going to be really good for a long time. Jalen Hurts and those guys, they got the engine all running. I love competing every day with AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith. They really kick it off, and I know we have a good lead with seven to set the tone.

“I have a belief Howie will do a good job building it up [defensive] basic back up. I have great faith in the team in general. That was a big part of my decision.”

» Read more: How will the Eagles defense change – or stay the same – under new Sean Desai?

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Prior to his decision, Bradbury revealed that he had reached out to new defensive coordinator Sean Desai. The pair discussed some of the details behind Desai’s scheme and playbook, envisioning potential bouts that bode well with Bradberry’s playing style as a physical cornerback. Bradbury thrives on covering areas and possesses a long wingspan (78.625 inches) and large hands (9.13 inches) for recovery when used for both inside and outside leverage.

“I spoke to him, and we talked about what he would run,” Bradbury said. “I’m very comfortable with it. I wouldn’t say it’s the same as our defense last year, but I feel like there are some similarities because he switches things up with quarter calls, cover 2, cover 3, etc. I’m familiar with playing in different layouts, so I feel comfortable fully in play [Desai]. “

Bradberry, who has earned $41.3 million in career earnings, according to Over The Cap, has no immediate plans regarding early spending on his new deal with the Eagles.

“I’ve done enough splurging early on,” he said with a laugh. “I’ll just take care of my family and put the rest in the bank, be smart, and invest it.”

Bradbury concluded: “I dedicate myself to this team. I want to be a part of this defense. I want to hold Philadelphia to a Super Bowl.”