Last week, the New York Giants released linebacker Michael Boley, running back Ahmad Bradshaw and defensive tackle Chris Canty. All of them were key members of the 2011-12 championship team. The cuts leave some holes on the depth chart, but the G-Men may not have to look outside the organization to fill them. Here are five Giants in line for bigger roles next season as a result of the team's recent roster shakeup.
Marvin Austin (DT) -- The release of Canty opens the door for Austin, who will be entering his third season in 2013. Unfortunately, he missed all of 2011 and half of 2012 due to injuries. Next season could be a make-or-break year for the second-round pick out of North Carolina. The Giants are thin at defensive tackle and will give Austin a chance to play, but must stay healthy and on the field.
Jacquian Williams (LB) -- At this point, Williams is the logical choice to fill the void left by Boley. The second-year pro appeared in 10 games and made 30 tackles last season. Williams is a speedy defender who may be able to help improve the team's run defense (ranked No. 25 in the NFL in 2012). A sixth-round selection in 2011, he played in 16 games and made 78 tackles as a rookie.
Spencer Paysinger (LB) -- Paysinger, who made the team in 2011 as an undrafted free agent, figures to have his best opportunity to start next season. He may have to beat out Williams (or Mark Herzlich) for a starting job, but the Giants could use him as a primary backup or on special teams, too. This past season, Paysinger played in all 16 games and made a career-high 39 tackles.
Andre Brown (RB) -- Brown, a fourth-round pick of the Giants in 2009, had a nose for the end zone in 2012. He finished with a team-leading eight rushing touchdowns despite missing the final six games of the season with a leg injury. Brown is a restricted free agent, but there's no reason to think he won't be back in blue next season. Expect him to carry the rock on third downs and near the goal line.
David Wilson (RB) -- Wilson, last year's first-round pick, stands to benefit the most by the release of Bradshaw. He rushed for 358 yards and four touchdowns with an impressive average of five yards per carry last season. Wilson demonstrated game-breaking ability with a team-record 327 all-purpose yards (227 on kickoff returns) and three touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints in week 14.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer with more than 15 years of experience covering amateur and professional sports for several print and online media outlets. He tracked the New York Giants for Yahoo! Contributor Network during the team's Super Bowl run in 2011-12. Adam can be found on Twitter @Pegcitysports.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Marvin Austin
- Ahmad Bradshaw
- Michael Boley
- the New York Giants
- Chris Canty