COMMENTARY | The New York Giants continued their offseason roster makeover with the releases of running back Ahmad Bradshaw and defensive tackle Chris Canty on Wednesday, February 6.
The cost-cutting moves will help the Giants get under the salary cap for next season. Bradshaw, who rushed for 1,015 yards and six touchdowns in 2012, was scheduled to earn $4.5 million next season. Canty was on the books for $6.5 million in 2013. The transactions come on the heels of Big Blue cutting starting linebacker Michael Boley (here's my take on Boley's release). The moves may have been necessary for financial reasons, but will they help or hurt the Giants in the long run?
Bradshaw, who played six seasons in New York, was a key member of the Giants' last two Super Bowl championship teams and one of the club's heart-and-soul players. The hard-nosed running back endured foot and ankle injuries the last couple of seasons. Canty, who spent the last four years in blue, was an experienced run-stopper, an area in which the Giants struggled last year. New York was ranked No. 25 in the National Football League against the run in 2012.
The Giants will miss Bradshaw, but David Wilson literally and figuratively is poised to take the ball and run with it. Last year's first-round draft pick rushed for only 358 yards and four touchdowns this past season, but he averaged 5.0 yards per carry. Moreover, he flashed his big potential against the New Orleans Saints in week 14 with a team-record 327 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns (two rushing). Restricted free agent Andre Brown may be another option in the backfield. He rushed for a team-leading eight touchdowns despite missing the final six games of the season.
Replacing Canty may be a bit more tricky. He missed seven games last season, but had 26 tackles and three sacks. Canty played in every game the prior two seasons. Big Blue may have to bring back unrestricted free agent DT Rocky Bernard and hope DT Marvin Austin stays healthy. However, with the recent release of Boley, the Giants now must bolster the defensive line and linebacker position, if they are going to improve against the run.
So did the Giants make the right moves by cutting Bradshaw and Canty? It all depends on what Big Blue does with the money it saved. Remember, the G-Men have several key UFAs to worry about (i.e. Will Beatty, Osi Umenyiora, Martellus Bennett), as well as RFAs Victor Cruz and Stevie Brown. It's not ging to be an easy fix, but my money is on general manager Jerry Reese to make it work.
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.