This isn’t an exaggeration. Shortly before penning this one, James Bradberry‘s age was double-checked. Sure, we know he’s 29 years young and that he won’t reach his 30th birthday until next August, but seeing as how he moves and operates like he’s still 24, we decided to look anyway. Once that was done, we began texting some of our friends in an attempt to get a debate started. Here are two questions that w kept coming back to. Should the Philadelphia Eagles star be considered for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award? Secondly, should he win it if he is?
We’ve kept one eye on Seattle Seahawks signal-caller Geno Smith all season. He has to be in the running. No one seems to mention this now, but few believed the Seahawks would be in the mix for a playoff berth this late in the season. Heck, you could argue that, if the MVP award was based solely on ‘value’, Geno might deserve a few votes in that discussion.
Smith is probably the frontrunner for the Comeback Player of the Year Award currently, but in all honesty, if he’s in the running, Bradberry should be as well. He hasn’t just made a comeback. He’s enjoying a revenge tour, one that’s being performed with machine-like efficiency.
James Bradberry continues to impress as the Eagles continue to win.
So, once we were done texting our friends (most stopped responding after a while anyway), we arrived at a few theories. Bradberry won’t win the NFL’s MVP trophy. Maybe he would if he played the quarterback position. He probably won’t win Comeback Player of the Year, but that doesn’t make his story any less interesting.
This past offseason, after restructuring his contract twice in 2021 to help the New York Giants create cap room, New York elected to move on. They tried to trade him. They got no offers, or any offers that they liked, so they released him on May 9th.
No one picked him up until the Eagles added him on a one-year deal nine days later. Let’s just put things this way. That decision seems to be working out for them. Oh, and get this… The Eagles play the Giants twice annually. Number 24’s first opportunity for revenge comes this Sunday in Week 14.
With 12 games of the Eagles’ regular season behind us, James Bradberry has added 30 total tackles, three interceptions, 14 pass breakups, and a defensive touchdown to his resume. If he isn’t voted to the Pro Bowl (his second), there needs to be an investigation.
Pro Football Focus currently gives him an overall grade of 76.2 and a coverage grade of 81.2 this season. That coverage grade is just under three points higher than Darius Slay‘s mark of 78.9. This is true even though Bradberry is targeted more often. Only Isaiah Rodgers (87.1), Sauce Gardner (86.0), and Patrick Peterson (83.0) have higher coverage grades that are higher.
In Week 13 versus the Tennessee Titans, the tandem of Slay and Bradberry was truly a lights-out combination. Check out this graphic.
He doesn’t talk very often. Sometimes, we forget what his voice sounds like, but if all of this doesn’t speak to the ‘comeback’ theory, nothing will. We like the phrase ‘revenge tour’ better though. This is most certainly one of those. Bradberry has already proven himself to be worthy of extension, in the eyes of most at least.
Only time will tell if the Eagles’ brass determines that he needs to be a part of the team’s long-term future. That will give Philadelphia two starting outside cornerbacks who are older than 30, but with the way Bradberry and Slay are performing, who can argue with that decision?
Perhaps Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon said it best. “James Bradberry’s football character I’d put up against anyone’s. I’m glad we have him.”