Eagles cornerback James Bradberry in action during an NFL game against...

Eagles cornerback James Bradberry in action during an NFL game against the Titans on Dec. 4 in Philadelphia.  Credit: AP/Chris Szagola

PHILADELPHIA — There was a time James Bradberry felt stung by the Giants’ decision to release him this offseason. He certainly knew his time in New York had come to an end when the new regime took over and targeted his contract as one of the first they needed to excise because it had relatively little guaranteed money and would save them about $10 million against the cap. So he spent most of the winter training for wherever he would be playing and waiting for the phone to ring with news he’d been traded or released.

When that call finally came in May it wasn’t a shock, but it did bug him that it prevented him from hitting free agency with the rest of the league in March. Most of the teams’ rosters were already set and Bradberry, who had been a Pro Bowler for the Giants just two years ago and one of the most consistent cornerbacks in the league, had to settle for a one-year deal with the Eagles.

If Bradberry had been able to play the Giants back then, or even earlier in the season than this Sunday’s first NFC East matchup between the teams, he might have held a grudge or felt some drive to show them what they gave up.

But no more, he insisted.

He’s already made his point.

“What’s our record?” he said on Wednesday when pushed for the type of vitriol and animosity that usually spews from such situations and insisting this is just another game to him.

“Eleven-and-one makes it better,” he told Newsday, citing the best-in-the-NFL record of his new team. “We’re over here winning. That’s all the payback I need.”

Well, almost.

“Twelve-and-one,” he said with a grin. “That would be better.”

As placid and unbothered as Bradberry is about Sunday’s game, the Eagles are that thrilled to have him. He and Darius Slay have formed one of the top cornerback combos in the league and helped make the Eagles into Super Bowl contenders.

“He’s been on fire,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said of Bradberry. “He just sees the field well. He makes the play when the play comes to him, and I just think that he’s just been a great veteran help to the defense. He’s steady, he’s a pro. He doesn’t say much but he goes out and does his job every day and he leads by example.

“I’m sure glad he’s an Eagle.”

Bradberry said he is still in touch with plenty of Giants: Adoree’ Jackson, Leonard Williams and Xavier McKinney were a few he mentioned by name. He doesn’t regret his two years in New York, but he certainly wishes things had turned out better for him and the team.

“When I first got there [as a free agent in 2020] I thought it was going to be a better team and we didn’t do that,” he said. “It takes a team to win a football game and we just didn’t have the team to win games.”

Now he does.

“I got released because of the salary cap and because we weren’t winning,” he said. “I understand this is a business at the end of the day. I have come to peace with it.”

The Giants? Probably not so much. Of all the had-to decisions general manager Joe Schoen and his crew made in their first year of rebuilding the team and trying to straighten out the cap mess left to them, Bradberry is the one that made the most fiscal sense but the least in football terms. Most of the others shipped off have produced little if anything for their new teams (if they even have one) and would not have made much of an impact on the Giants had they stuck around. Even among the prominent discards — Logan Ryan, Blake Martinez, Kadarius Toney who was traded to the Chiefs — the Giants can feel good about putting most of them to the curb.

Bradberry, though, would have been a key player for the 2022 Giants had he remained on the team. He surely would have helped in a secondary that has been shredded by injuries and has had to turn to a number of journeymen as starters. It was the lack of talent in that secondary that cost the Giants a chance to beat Washington last week (they settled for a tie) and which will likely be attacked by the Eagles with receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith in this game.

They could have at least kept Bradberry out of the division by trading him. The Texans were said to be the most likely partner at the time, a fate that might have caused greater sourness from Bradberry than what actually transpired given their perpetual place in the power rankings.

Instead, Bradberry wound up landing with the Giants’ fierce rivals down the Turnpike … and making them a better team in the process.

If any party wants to feel surly and stung by the way things went down it ought to be the Giants and not Bradberry.

“It feels good,” Bradberry said, looking around at the locker room he now calls home. “I feel like I made the right decision.”

It may take a little longer for the Giants to get to that point.

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