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Raiders expected to pursue veteran free-agent cornerback

Veteran cornerback James Bradberry hit the open market Monday, and the Raiders have an interest in signing the former Pro Bowl player.

As expected, Bradberry was released by the New York Giants on Monday in a salary-cap move. The Raiders have a need and a connection, so it makes sense they will be among the handful of suitors.

Trayvon Mullen, one of the Raiders’ presumed starting perimeter corners, underwent minor surgery last week, leaving his status in question. Even before Mullen’s surgery, the Raiders were considered prime suitors for Bradberry considering their young cornerback room and Bradberry’s link to Patrick Graham, the Raiders’ new defensive coordinator who served in the same role for the Giants the past two years.

Bradberry’s familiarity with Graham’s system — and his established level of play — make him an attractive target for the Raiders.

Timing could be an issue, though.

The Raiders are $5 million under the salary cap, so adding a player of Bradberry’s caliber — and asking price — will be difficult. But the Raiders will create more than $20 million in cap space June 2 when the contracts of Cory Littleton and Carl Nassib come off the books.

Bradberry, 28, had a nonguaranteed $13.5 million salary for this year and represented a $21.9 million cap hit. The Giants needed to create cap space to sign their rookie class, and Bradberry was the obvious cap casualty target.

The move will create $10.1 million in immediate cap savings, though the Giants will assume $11.7 million in dead money. If they designate the move as a post-June 1 transaction, they will save $11.5 million with a $10.4 million dead cap charge this year and a $1.4 million dead cap hit next year.

New York tried to trade Bradberry, but teams decided to wait until he was released and pursue him on the open market. That saved them from giving up anything of significance and assuming his contract.

Bradberry immediately becomes a free agent who can negotiate a deal with any team.

In his two seasons under Graham, Bradberry had seven interceptions in 32 starts and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2020.

Bradberry played four seasons with the Carolina Panthers before signing as a free agent with the Giants in 2020.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.

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