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James Bradberry’s talent, leadership should help 2020 Giants

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Bradberry a centerpiece of defensive rebuild

Jacksonville Jaguars v Carolina Panthers
James Bradberry breaks up a pass last season vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

In need of both a No. 1 cornerback and a leader for their young secondary, the New York Giants invested heavily in James Bradberry during free agency.

Let’s take a closer look at the 26-year-old former member of the Carolina Panthers.

The basics

Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 212
Age: 26
Position: Cornerback
Experience: 4
Contract status: Year 1 of three-year, $43.5 million contract (UFA 2023) | 2020 base salary: $3.9 million | 2020 cap hit: $10 million

How he got here

After four good years with the Carolina Panthers Bradberry cashed in with the Giants, getting a three-year deal that included $29.8 million in guaranteed money.

This was no handout from GM Dave Gettleman, the man who drafted him for the Panthers in Round 2 of the 2016 NFL Draft. Bradberry earned his money. Maybe he has never reached elite “shut down” level, but he has been a good player tasked with handling some of the game’ best wide receivers the past couple of seasons.

“Everybody knows I drafted James (Bradberry) when I was in Carolina,” Gettleman said. “He gives you a big, long body that has played against number ones. He has the mindset, he’s not shy and the moment is not too big for him.”

2020 outlook

The Giants will ask Bradberry to handle the opposition’s best wide receiver, giving whichever young cornerback is playing opposite him a chance to grow and develop without fear of being overmatched.

“My motto is just go out there and do it. There’s no point in being scared of it or hiding back from it,” Bradberry said shortly after signing with the Giants. “Just embrace the challenge, accept it and make sure you put the time in so that when it’s time to play on Sunday, that you’re able to perform at your highest level, put on a good show for the fans and also get a win.”

The Giants will also look at Bradberry to be a positive influence on the many young cornerbacks he will be surrounded by.

“Dave saw me up close and personal my first year and then after that he saw me from afar. After that, I think he saw me improve each and every year,” Bradberry said. “In order to improve you have to take knowledge and apply it on the field. That’s what I want to do for the younger guys, I want to give them knowledge and hopefully they can apply it on the field.”