James Bradberry’s $21.8 million salary cap hit was unsustainable in this 2022 season. That is one reason the Giants released their best defensive back on Monday.

But they also cut him because the new regime had a lower opinion of the player than the last GM and head coach did.

Bradberry, 29, learned early this offseason that he was no longer wanted, which is why he stayed away until the team resolved this.

The Giants did not make an effort to extend Bradberry while the relationship was salvageable, which they could have done to spread out his salary cap hit if they had considered him irreplaceable.

New GM Joe Schoen also could have restructured Bradberry’s contract to kick some money into the future and retain him. But when he needed cap space earlier this spring, he opted to restructure corner Adoree Jackson instead – kicking some of his money into future years – and still cut Bradberry here in May.

The Giants will eat $10.3 million in dead money this season, and save $11.5 million in cap space, if they designate Bradberry’s release a post-June 1 cut, per overthecap.com.

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Schoen could have saved another $2 million by resolving Bradberry’s situation by mid-March, but $2 million of his contract became guaranteed on March 17.

The Giants’ secondary is extremely thin. They did not meaningfully address the outside corner position in free agency or the draft. Jackson, a former first-round pick that the Titans let walk out the door in 2021, is their top outside corner at the moment.

Second-year corner Aaron Robinson is the most likely incumbent to challenge for a starting outside spot at the moment.

New Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale needs reinforcements. His former Ravens corner Jimmy Smith, 33, who knows the system, would be an obvious fit if physical health and contract line up for the unrestricted free agent.

Schoen has been trying to trade Bradberry all offseason. His failure to do so, and the fact that he cut Bradberry this late in the offseason, is discouraging given the quality of the player.

Bradberry won’t be a free agent for very long. Some potential trade suitors have just been waiting the Giants out.

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AWARD: Washington Commanders Coach Ron Rivera, who had cancer and made a full recovery, has been selected as the 2022 George Halas Award recipient by the Professional Football Writers of America.

The Halas Award is given to an NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes adversity to succeed. The award is named for Halas, a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who was associated with the Chicago Bears and NFL from their inception in 1920 until his death in 1983 as an owner, manager, player and promoter.

Rivera, who has battled squamous cell carcinoma, is the fourth member of the Washington franchise to receive the honor from the PFWA and the second in as many years, joining Billy Kilmer (1976), Pat Fischer (1978) and Alex Smith (2021).

PATRIOTS: The New England Patriots again added to their growing pipeline of former Alabama players, including defensive lineman LaBryan Ray among eight players signed as undrafted free agents.

With Ray the Patriots currently have six former Crimson Tide players on their roster. Ray joins quarterback Mac Jones, running back Damien Harris, defensive tackle Christian Barmore, linebacker Anfernee Jennings and linebacker Mack Wilson

The seven other rookies signed were defensive back Devin Hafford (Tarleton State), punter Jake Julien (Eastern Michigan), quarterback D’Eriq King (Miami), defensive lineman DaMarcus Mitchell (Purdue), offensive lineman Kody Russey (Houston), defensive back Brenden Schooler (Texas) and offensive lineman Liam Shanahan (LSU).

The Patriots continually have found impact players in the undrafted rookie pool during Coach Bill Belichick’s tenure, including 2015 Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler, cornerback J.C. Jackson and center David Andrews.

New England has had at least one undrafted rookie make its initial 53-man roster for 18 straight seasons. Kicker Quinn Nordin kept the streak alive last season.

Rookie minicamp begins Friday.


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