Earlier this offseason, the New York Giants released veteran running back Ahmad Bradshaw in order to create salary cap space to operate with this offseason, while also opening the door for David Wilson to take the reigns as the starting tailback. During his time in New York, Bradshaw was an instrumental aspect of two Super Bowl championship teams. In fact, he scored (albeit inadvertently) the game winning touchdown against the New England Patriots to bring home Big Blue's second Super Bowl victory in five seasons.
Currently, Bradshaw is still a free-agent. The New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos have expressed interest in the six-year veteran. However, durability issues, likely along with a desire to receive a contract above the veteran minimum have kept Bradshaw off another team's roster. In fact, today, he was named to ProFootballTalk.com's All-Unemployed team.
Bradshaw is the most talented running back still on the open market. He has run for over 1,000 yards in two of the last three seasons and has shown an ability to block well in pass protection. If he can stay healthy, Bradshaw is still capable of being a starting halfback for a contender. He's still only 27 years old, which theoretically means he should still have another season or two of legitimate production left in him.
However, even with Bradshaw still on the market, the Giants are likely going to look elsewhere to fill the depth chart at running back. The Giants only saved around $2.75 million of salary cap room by releasing Bradshaw. Although that was enough for them allow for several veteran additions along the defensive line and at linebacker, the Giants could have restructured several other contracts to create that salary cap room.
In all likelihood, the Giants could have, and can still find a way to bring Bradshaw back. His price tag is dropping each day he's not signed, and the Giants could be able to afford him after the Victor Cruz situation is settled. But with David Wilson on the roster, the Giants have no incentive to bring in a player to take carries from Wilson and inhibit his development for the future. Wilson may still experience growing pains in 2013, but as a first-round pick, the Giants need to give him a chance to play a major role on the offense this season. Having Bradshaw on the roster would limit those opportunities.
If the wide receiver corp. can stay healthy, the Giants will be able to rely on Wilson and Andre Brown to carry the rushing attack. Given Wilson's untapped potential, it's entirely possible that the rushing attack becomes an explosive big play threat at some point this season. The Giants saw Wilson's explosiveness and talent on special teams and even out of the backfield at times last year, but 2013 will be his big opportunity to put it all together. It remains to be seen how he responds to the challenge.
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