One of the names that is flying under the radar in free agency is James Bradberry. He’s not very well known on the NFL landscape yet, mostly due to being young and being on a struggling Carolina team.
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Bradberry ranks ninth in the league in passes defended since 2017. Eighth on that list is Hayward. Pairing the two together could be a match made in heaven for the defense. However, Gus Bradley probably values a corner that is more on the ball than in coverage.
Another factor is a price. Bradberry seems to have really opened negotiations at a price tag of $15 million dollars per season. As good as he might be, the Chargers just have more pressing needs that require more immediate attention, especially since they have the aforementioned Hayward.
PFF also doesn’t value Bradberry that high, having him at a 60.9 overall coverage grade for 2019. That’s fairly low considering the average scores tend to be in the low to mid-70s. Bradberry may also be the beneficiary of a high target rate in a sense, since Carolina isn’t really a juggernaut in the secondary. Always be careful when trying to make an equivalence between cornerback stats and play.
Ultimately, free agency tends to be hit or miss, but it’s better for the Chargers to go after some quality free agents who may be a better fit as opposed to the big names. Brady is still a solid quarterback, but he reduces the Chargers’ flexibility as a team and is older. Jones and Bradberry are solid cornerbacks, but the Chargers are better off spending money where their needs are more pressing.
Gordon was devalued the moment Ekeler re-signed with the Chargers, and it doesn’t feel like there’s a particularly good reason to keep him when his production can be replaced. Tannehill is a OK bridge quarterback, but it’s hard to tell if he’s a fit, as well as if 2019 wasn’t a fluke. Finally, Green is an elite receiver, but the Chargers are looking for more of a complementary piece than a No. 1.