The New York Football Giants began their off-season with 23 unsigned free agents, and that number increased by two more today, as the team announced that veteran defensive lineman Chris Canty and hard-nose running back Ahmad Bradshaw had been released from their contracts.
Despite being an unknown commodity when he was drafted out of Marshall in the seventh round of the 2007 NFL draft, Bradshaw became a major contributor to the two recent super bowl championships that Big Blue won after the 2007 and 2011 season. Bradshaw first shared time in the backfield with another former Giants' running back, Brandon Jacobs, until 2010, and then became the lead back in 2011 and 2012.
Bradshaw scored the game-winning touchdown for New York, as the G-men defeated the New England Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI.
According to the blog, All New York Giants News,significant salary cap room was saved by releasing Michael Boley, Bradshaw and Canty.
All NYG wrote, "The moves were necessary for the Giants, who were over the projected salary cap for the 2013 NFL season. Cutting Canty saved them $6.5 million in cap space. Cutting Bradshaw saved them $2.75 million. And with the $4.5 million they saved by cutting Boley, they got themselves under the projected cap with a little room to spare by clearing $13.75 million off their books."
In 2012, Bradshaw rushed for 1,015 yards, while battling foot, ankle and a knee injury throughout the season, but with the emergence of first round draft pick David Wilson, and the Giants' need to slash payroll, necessity met opportunity for the team by releasing the popular running back.
In terms of replacing Bradshaw on the team, restricted free agent running back Andre Brown, who lead the team with nine rushing touchdowns, appears recovered from a broken leg suffered against the Green Bay Packers, and New York has expressed a desire to re-sign the North Carolina State product.
Chris Canty was signed by Big Blue as a free agent in 2009, and he had spent the first four years of his career as a Dallas Cowboy. The former Virginia Cavalier star was a fourth round pick of Dallas, and he also battled injuries throughout his Giants' career.
According to Michael Eisen of Giants.com, "soon after Super Bowl XLVI, Canty underwent knee surgery. He was placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list at the start of training camp last year and missed the first six games of the regular season. He made his 2012 debut in a victory over Washington on Oct. 21. Canty started all nine games in which he played and finished the season with 31 tackles (24 solo) and 3.0 sacks."
Speaking on the Mike Francesa Show on WFAN this afternoon, Bradshaw indicated that he was not surprised about being released. " I kind of saw this coming, " Bradshaw said. "I knew it would happen sooner or later, but I didn't know when."
Bradshaw expressed no bitterness towards the Giants for releasing when he responded to a Francesa question, "no, this is part of the business. The Giants are still my family, and I will always remember the guys there."