The wound from the Super Bowl LVII loss was still fresh for cornerback James Bradberry as he stood at his locker at the NovaCare Complex a day after the Eagles returned from Arizona. The topic wasn't what happened late in the game against Kansas City; it was more about the future.
Bradberry had proven himself in the 2022 season – earning second-team All-Pro honors after recording 17 pass breakups and three interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. After being released by the Giants in the spring, he signed with the Eagles – a one-year contract – and he bet on himself playing at a high level.
He did just that. At the highest level, actually. And now Bradberry looked into the future, into what his next step might be as an unrestricted free agent in March, and he outlined what mattered to him.
"My priority will probably be the team, the roster, see how the roster is shaped," he said. "Of course, the money. It needs to be at a good price. Really just the roster and the money, those two things."
Those two things worked when he looked at what he had right in front of him – everything worked so perfectly for Bradberry in Philadelphia that when he was able to clear his mind from the tough loss to the Chiefs and weigh everything from what he heard around the league, it became very obvious what would serve him best: Returning to the Eagles to run it back.
And that's exactly what Bradberry is doing. The Eagles officially announced on Wednesday that Bradberry had agreed to terms on a three-year contract, so the defense will have one of its key pieces back for the 2023 season. Along with the news a few days earlier of the return of defensive end Brandon Graham, the Eagles retain two important players as the defense builds under new coordinator Sean Desai.
"This season in Philadelphia, it was great. I really loved it. Great people here, great organization, and we obviously had success. Not the ultimate success, of course, and that's disappointing, but it was an experience to get to the Super Bowl and experience it," Bradberry said. "We'll see what happens, but coming back here would be great if it could all work out.
"I want something where I can stay in one place for some time – not sure how the length of the contract would matter – but it's tough moving every year. That's important, too."
It's all worked out for Bradberry, who wanted "the number to be right." He enters his eighth NFL season and his long, rangy body, great instincts, and intelligence have made him a top cornerback for many seasons.
Now he gets to stay for more with the Eagles, who are working through a lot of tough decisions, as expected, in this offseason. They retain Bradberry, who can match up in a physical way and who wins that way against the top NFL receivers.
"He's one of those guys who wins for you," former Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon said during the season. "James has been everything we hoped he would be this season. He's been outstanding."
That's why keeping Bradberry was so important for the Eagles, who ticked off another important "keep" early in this 2023 offseason. They are going one by one here, remaining patient, working the market, and keeping their big picture in mind. Retaining Bradberry makes a difference here with so many moving pieces moving forward.