Commanders only have themselves to blame for losing James Bradberry
By Jerry Trotta
The Washington Commanders‘ roster for 2022 is far from finalized. At least that’s what we like to think given how many holes still need feeling.
Between linebacker, defensive tackle and cornerback/safety, the front office will hopefully add reinforcements between now and the start of minicamp.
The post-draft and pre-training camp portion of the offseason is when the Commanders have feasted in terms of signing players under Ron Rivera. This year, they inked Trai Turner to a one-year deal during the draft. Last offseason, they added Bobby McCain, Charles Leno and Ricky Seals-Jones in mid-to-late May.
The final chapter on the 2022 offseason is still being written. For most fans, adding James Bradberry following his Giants release would’ve served as a nice capper to a productive, though passive, free agency cycle.
Given Bradberry’s history with Ron Rivera and desire to play for his former head coach again, Washington seemed like a perfect fit. When push came to shove, however, they were outbid by the hated Eagles, of all teams.
Why did James Bradberry pick the Eagles over the Commanders?
As is always the case, it came down to money. According to OverTheCap, the Commanders have just $9.297 million in remaining cap space. Of course, there’s no way to know if Washington even pursued Bradberry, but their financial situation definitely determined why he chose to sign with the enemy.
As much as Bradberry would’ve like to reunite with Rivera, he was always going to chase the money, especially after getting released, and he lands in a spot where he can play alongside a four-time Pro Bowler in Darius Slay.
At the end of the day, the Commanders only have themselves to blame for missing out on Bradberry, a Pro Bowler in 2020.
It’s another pitfall of the Carson Wentz trade, which swallowed most of their available cap space this offseason. But why didn’t they simply restructure the QB’s contract to maximize their resources? Washington is one of a few NFL teams that doesn’t fancy reworking deals and it came back to haunt them in this scenario.
Whether it’s a matter of having an eye on future roster building or not wanting to jeopardize having an easy out on Wentz’s deal after 2022 is unclear, but the team was forced to part ways with Landon Collins and Matt Ioannidis, two important pieces, as a result of absorbing Wentz’s $28.95 million cap charge.
Wouldn’t it have made sense to restructure Wentz’s deal in order to offset those losses? We’re two months into the offseason and Andrew Norwell’s two-year, $10 million deal contract remains the team’s biggest free agent splash.
Missing out on Bradberry doesn’t make the offseason a failure. Cornerback isn’t a glaring need by any stretch of the imagination. It just stings knowing Bradberry, given his fondness of Rivera, likely would’ve picked Washington over Philly if the front office wasn’t so conservative in its cap management philosophy.
That’s the part that makes it so frustrating. It was preventable and he signed with the Eagles, who’ve taken an entirely different approach to the offseason.