The Giants cut bait with one of their top players on Wednesday.
Running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who was drafted by the Giants out of Marshall in the seventh round in 2007, was released by the team.
“Pound for pound, Bradshaw is one of the toughest football players that I’ve been around,” general manager Jerry Reese said in a statement. “Ahmad played football like Giants football should be played.”
Bradshaw took over as the team's starting running back from Brandon Jacobs the past few seasons, even before Jacobs was let go after the 2011 season. He had just 90 carries in his first two seasons with the Giants, including 23 carries in the team's Super Bowl season in 2007. He had 1,015 yards and six touchdowns this past season. His best season came in 2010, when he had 1,235 and eight rushing touchdowns.
Bradshaw, 27, signed a four-year, $18 million deal with the Giants in August 2011, with $9 million of that guaranteed. He had two years left on his deal. He was set to make $3.75 million next season and $4 million in 2014. The cap numbers, however, were just over $6 million in both of those seasons due to prorated guaranteed money.
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He spent a lot of time injured, however, including foot problems in 2012. The team drafted running back David Wilson with the final pick of the first round in the 2012 NFL Draft, and despite a slow start to his rookie campaign, the former Virginia Tech star emerged down the stretch for the Giants.
“Ahmad Bradshaw was drafted 250th in a class of 255 and to excel and to perform the way that he has, and to accomplish what he has, is a great tribute to him,” head coach Tom Coughlin said in a statement. “He is not only an exceptional football player, but he is the epitome of line up and play. Regardless of the circumstances, he’s going to give you everything he’s got. If you give the ball to him, he’s going to get every inch of what is there — and sometimes when it’s not blocked, he still gets it.”
The team also announced they have released defensive lineman Chris Canty. Canty, a Bronx native, spent the last four seasons on the Giants. He had nine career sacks as a Giants, including four in 2011 and three this past season.
“Chris Canty is a pro’s pro, a true team player and competitor,” Reese said. “He helped us get to the top in 2011 and it was a pleasure having him here during his time with the New York Giants.”
Canty had two years remaining on his contract as well, and was due $6.25 million this upcoming season and $6.5 million in 2014.
The moves will free up space to re-sign current players. The Giants have a wealth of free agents to re-sign, including restricted free agent Victor Cruz, and unrestricted free agents Kenny Phillips, Will Beatty and Martellus Bennett.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.