Panthers cornerback James Bradberry takes the field prior to an NFL...

Panthers cornerback James Bradberry takes the field prior to an NFL game against the Falcons in Charlotte, N.C., on Nov. 17, 2019. Credit: AP/Brian Blanco

Four years after Dave Gettleman drafted James Bradberry in the second round for the Panthers, he’s signing him as a free agent for the Giants.

The Giants filled one of their biggest defensive holes on the first day of free agency talks, agreeing in principle to sign the 26-year-old cornerback. A source confirmed the agreement, which will be for three years and $45 million with $32 million guaranteed once the start of the new league year arrives on Wednesday and Bradberry can take his physical. NFL Network was first to report the signing.

Bradberry was one of two top-tier cornerbacks who agreed to terms with teams in free agency on Monday. Byron Jones, formerly of the Cowboys, agreed to sign with the Dolphins for a reported five years and $82.5 million. The Giants were not going to compete on that level, but now they no longer have to compete against Jones twice a year in the division either.

The Giants needed an experienced playmaker at cornerback after parting ways with Janoris Jenkins late in the 2019 season. They have a young group of players they hope can develop into NFL impact-makers, including DeAndre Baker, Sam Beal and Grant Haley, but they were lacking a proven player in those ranks. Bradberry, a four-year starter in the receiver-laden NFC South, fills that role. Bradberry had three interceptions and a sack while allowing just one touchdown and just two receivers to gain more than 80 yards in a game in 2019.

The Giants likely have more work to do on defense and spent a good portion of Monday poking around inside linebackers. They were interested in Nick Kwiatkoski, who is leaving the Bears to sign with the Raiders, and as of Monday evening remained engaged with Blake Martinez of the Packers and Cory Littleton of the Rams. They also reached out to edge rusher Jordan Jenkins, who seems unlikely to re-sign with the Jets, and have been in contact with reps for the prized pass rusher in free agency, Jadeveon Clowney.

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