The New York Giants decision to cut themselves free of the final two years of star running back Ahmad Bradshaw’s contract signals a new direction for the team, as well as further indication of significant change within the NFL.
It was a brave decision by Giants General Manager Jerry Reese to cut Bradshaw loose, however we shouldn’t be so shocked. Reese has shown time and again that in assembling Super Bowl calibre rosters, he’s no sentimental fool.
A year ago Reese refused to extend previous star running back Brandon Jacob’s contract sensing the big back from Houma, Louisiana was on the wane. Jacobs had five carries this season for the 49ers and was promptly cut prior to the playoffs.
Meanwhile, on the same day Bradshaw was told to say goodbye to New York, Michael Boley and Chris Canty, both of whom started for the Giants when they won the Super Bowl twelve months ago, were also told to look for new teams.
Yet it was the Bradshaw move that has created the biggest ripples throughout the league.
Selected 250th overall in the 2007 draft, Bradshaw emerged as the Giants’ most dynamic and reliable back over the last three seasons. However he’s also in recent times shown a propensity for injury, often unable to train and forever questionable for matches.
What may have further persuaded the Giants away from committing to Bradshaw was how well the Giants performed in the two games he missed this season.
The two matches resulted in two victories by a combined 54 points, with the Giants able to produce two different 100 yards backs on each occasion.
Much of the focus of the Giants’ running attack will now be placed in the hands of former Virginia Tech and first round pick back David Wilson as well as NFL journeyman Andre Brown.
More than anything though Reese and co and have decided that this is now absolutely Eli Manning’s team, while it ought to consider the money the Giants have invested in his ability to successfully lead this offence.
In cutting Bradshaw, the Giants have reasoned that for the short term at least, the NFL isn’t a place to be overspending at running back. Indeed the NFL has fast become an aerial orientated league where the ability to score in bunches, and quickly, is king.
As admirable and successful as the Giants power running game has been, Reese and co have read the writing on the wall and acted accordingly.
Manning’s favourite receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks will likely and imminently be rewarded with the kind of contracts each believe they deserve. Doubtlessly Reese will dip into the $14 million saved through today’s cuts to satisfy those demands.
Unlike say, divisional rival Dallas, the Giants continue to illustrate their ability to evolve and to not be tied to stubborn, self satisfied protocol. It’s the reason they remain so relevant and continue to be one of the league’s most revered franchises.