Is the writing on the wall for Eagles CB James Bradberry?

GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 12: Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry (24) warms up during Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles on February 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

As the Eagles descended on the NovaCare Complex to kickstart their OTA workouts, there were a couple of omissions, which was to be expected since they’re voluntary. However, one notable name away from the practice on Wednesday was CB James Bradberry, whose future in Philadelphia has felt uncertain for quite sometime.

James Bradberry’s future with the Eagles is uncertain

While it would be a bit farfetched to assume that one missed practice is indicative of the writing being on the wall, there are certainly signs that he might not be around the team much longer.

To start with, the Eagles were relatively cap-tied to the veteran CB going into the offseason. If they had opted to move Bradberry on at any point this offseason, it would’ve cost them around $10M in cap space and cost them a ton in dead cap space. However, a move after June 1st cuts the 2024 dead cap space down by about $10M, the 2025 dead cap space by about $3M, and if they could work out a trade after this date, they’d actually save money against their current cap.

With that date fast-approaching, it’s logical to put 2 and 2 together and at least understand why Bradberry might not be too excited about attending a voluntary workout. Why would he risk an injury if he’s going to have to prove his salt elsewhere this season or workout for other teams?

Only compounding the narrative is the fact that the Eagles added not one, but two cornerbacks during this year’s NFL Draft, and both were selected in the opening two rounds. Quinyon Mitchell might be the most NFL-ready corner in this years’ class, and ‘redshirting’ him in favor of a corner who struggled in 2023 might not exactly be the best move for his development.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) makes a touchdown catch in front of Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry (24) during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 20-17. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Bradberry wasn’t awful in 2023, but he was nowhere near the player we saw in 2022 either. PFF graded his season at a lowly 56.6 – the third lowest of all Eagles players to have played 10+ games. He gave up an average of 3.5 receptions on 6 targets per game, 9 touchdowns and a passer raring of 108.6 when targeted.

He ended his 2023 campaign by giving up 105 yards in the playoff loss to Tampa Bay with an average of 21.6 yards allowed per catch. Not great.

What happens next?

Even if the Eagles don’t want to give the green light to Quinyon Mitchell right away, the Birds have a stacked DB room. Kelee Ringo, Eli Ricks, Josh Jobe and Isaiah Rodgers Jr are just a few of the other names all vying for a role in this new-look defense. There’s a hungry pack of Dogs chasing for that CB2 spot and with Bradberry now over 30-years-old, his days might well be numbered.

Darius Slay did mention on Wednesday that both he and Bradberry are prepared to help the rookies learn and it’s a sentiment the Pro Bowler has embodied ever since the NFL Draft. We haven’t seen much from Bradberry, but it’s encouraging to hear that one of the older vets in the room is still wanting to lead and mentor the younger guys.

The future for James Bradberry remains up in the air. Realistically, if the Eagles do keep him, affording reps to a rookie who might well be poised to snatch your job by missing voluntary workouts might not be the smartest call in the world, but we also don’t know the reason as to why he was absent in the first place.

Only time will tell as to whether or not James Bradberry will be an Eagle for the 2024 season, but with that key date of June 1st approaching, we might get our answer sooner than we think.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire