The Washington Commanders opted against drafting a cornerback until the seventh round of last week’s draft. It’s not a glaring need by any stretch, but the options behind starters Kendall Fuller and William Jackson leave a lot to be desired.
The only experienced backups are Danny Johnson, who performed well covering the slot last season, and Benjamin St-Juste, the team’s 2021 third-round pick who was limited to just nine games as a rookie due to concussions.
Speaking of injuries, Jackson only saw the field for nine games and was wildly inconsistent when he was in the starting lineup. Still, the highly-paid DB should rebound from what was a disappointing debut year in Washington.
The bottom line is Fuller, Jackson and Johnson, if only for his familiarity and experience in the system, are the only reliable options at corner. Is a new signing necessary? We wouldn’t go that far, but what if one’s handed to you on a silver platter? You’d have to take it then, right?
That’s how we view Giants star James Bradberry, who’s expected to get released after New York failed to trade him on draft weekend.
The Commanders should look to sign cornerback James Bradberry if he’s released by the Giants.
In a perfect world, the Giants would like to keep Bradberry, who had a Pro Bowl campaign in 2020, but has a $21.86 cap hit for next season. With New York having just $5.51 million in effective cap space, almost all of which will be needed to sign their draft class, though, Bradberry feels destined to become a cap casualty.
“We are going to work on that,” said Giants GM Joe Schoen of Bradberry’s future. “We have had some conversations. I’ve talked to his representative. We’ll see where that goes. I don’t have a definitive answer on that right now, but we are working towards some contingency plans.”
“I’m not going to put a timeline on it as we are working through this. So I don’t know how long it will take, but we are working through some things.”
This potential Giants loss could be Washington’s gain. If Bradberry’s released, a cavalcade of teams will be lined up with offers. As a former Ron Rivera disciple, Bradberry screams of a potential Commanders target.
Bradberry was drafted by Rivera’s Panthers in the second round back in 2016 and made 60 starts under Washington’s head coach. Nearly all of the team’s outside free-agent additions, including Andrew Norwell, Efe Obada and Trai Turner, all played for Rivera in Carolina. The only one who doesn’t fall under that category is Alex Erickson, and he was ironically with the Panthers last season. Just without Rivera.
Notice a theme? There’s seemingly nothing Rivera loves more than signing former players. It hasn’t failed him yet, so why stop now with Bradberry if he becomes available? The Commanders need reinforcements at cornerback and a release would allow the team to sign him to a new-and-improved (affordable) deal.
Given Bradberry’s experience and familiarity with both Rivera and the NFC East, Washington should absolutely sign him if he’s released.
Who knows? With the Eagles still in need of cornerback help following the draft, Bradberry could just as easily end up in Philly with the enemy. Playing keep away from a rival while bolstering a position of need would be a great way for the Commanders to continue their flurry of post-draft activity.