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February 08, 2023

James Bradberry is living in the moment at the Super Bowl

Ahead of an offseason where James Bradberry is going to land a gigantic contract possibly somewhere other than Philly, he's soaking up the totality of the moment at Super Bowl.

Eagles NFL
SuperBowlBradberry.jpeg Shamus Clancy/for PhillyVoice

Eagles All-Pro cornerback James Bradberry during Super Bowl media interviews in Arizona.

PHOENIX — In an offseason full of home-run signings and trades, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman was practically gifted an All-Pro caliber cornerback from the Giants. As a salary-cap casualty, New York released James Bradberry in May, long after the initial free agent push around the NFL, leaving him with fewer suitors than there typically would be for a corner of his caliber.

Roseman swooped in, signed Bradberry to a one-year deal worth a little over $7 million, and gave the Eagles the best cornerback tandem in the league, as Bradberry was now paired with five-time Pro Bowler Darius Slay.

Even with playing opposite a player of Slay's accolades, Bradberry has been the Eagles' best corner this season, picking up a Second-Team All-Pro selection in the process. Opposing quarterbacks had a QB rating of 51.6 when targeting Bradberry in 2022. For comparison's sake, Mike McMahon's QB rating for the Eagles in nine games in 2005 was 55.2. Quarterbacks turn into a worse version of McMahon when they throw Bradberry's way. 

After a star-studded group of cornerbacks locked it down in the 2000s – a list that included Bobby Taylor, Troy Vincent, Sheldon Brown, Lito Sheppard and Asante Samuel – the Birds' cornerback group was a barren wasteland in the 2010s. The former group combined for 11 Pro Bowls in midnight green, but Eagles fans were treated to the likes of Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher and Byron Maxwell in the latter decade, a collection of burnt toast you could find at the Melrose Diner. 

That's all a thing of the past with Bradberry and Slay.

The future, however, is uncertain. 

Bradberry has earned himself a whole lot of money this coming offseason and should deservedly land a gigantic new contract. The Eagles might be priced out given the younger talent on the roster they hope to retain in addition to a monster extension for Jalen Hurts that's looming

During Super Bowl LVII media interviews on Tuesday, Bradberry was asked about the host of Eagles hitting the free agent market this offseason. Sunday against Kansas City is the last time this group will ever play together. 

"It's obvious, but when we do think about it, we just try to live in the moment, be in the present," Bradberry said. "Even if we didn't have a whole bunch of free agents, the team probably wouldn't be the same. It's always going to be free agents available on your team. We just try not to think about it and enjoy the moment."

That moment features a matchup with the game's best quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, a soon-to-be two-time MVP winner. The Chiefs' receiving group is not what it once was after the team traded away Tyreek Hill before the season. It's an injury-ridden crew and even with Mahomes having all the talent in the world, he has yet to face a duo like Bradberry and Slay. 

Bradberry may find greener pastures in the coming months and if the Super Bowl is truly his last game as an Eagle, I have the expectation that Bradberry will seize this moment. 

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