Carolina Panthers: James Bradberry a franchise tag candidate

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) James Bradberry
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) James Bradberry /

Cornerback James Bradberry a franchise tag candidate for the Carolina Panthers.

The Carolina Panthers drafted cornerback James Bradberry in the second-round of the 2016 NFL Draft. A year after playing in the Super Bowl, the Panthers placed a franchise tag on cornerback Josh Norman in an effort to secure his services for an additional year. However, late in the spring just prior to the draft, then general manager Dave Gettleman rescinded the offer immediately making Norman a free agent.

He signed with the Washington Redskins days later with a contract that made him the highest paid player at his position. The move caused Gettleman to draft Bradberry and two other defensive backs (Daryl Worley and Zach Sanchez) with three consecutive picks during that year’s draft. Of the three, only Bradberry remains and is now set to become a potential free agent for the first time in his career.

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In his first four years, Bradberry has proven himself a capable cornerback – especially in a division loaded with wide receiver talent. One of the most reliable members of an improving Carolina secondary, Bradberry is expected to demand a sizable pay increase on the open market but the Panthers may counter by applying their franchise tag option.

Similar to the earlier Norman scenario, Carolina could secure Bradberry’s services for an additional year with a contract of approximately $15 million. By comparison, Bradberry made a base salary of just under $1 million last season and thus is looking for a big pay day with this opportunity.

If he exits, the Redskins are a potential landing spot having just released the aforementioned Norman and now under the direction of former Panthers coach Ron Rivera. Bradberry has talked about his appreciation for the only coach he’s known as a professional and executing the franchise tag may be the Panthers only measure to keep a reunion from happening.

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Tags can be applied beginning February 25 until March 10, so a decision on Bradberry is expected soon.