Two keys players on the 2011 New York Giants championship team were released on Wednesday.
The team cut both running back Ahmad Bradshaw and defensive tackle Chris Canty from the roster. Linebacker Michael Boley was released on Tuesday.
New York made the moves in order to cut payroll and improve their salary cap situation. At the end of the 2012 season, ESPN’s John Clayton projected that the Giants would be $4.7 million over the salary cap in 2013. Bradshaw and Canty were scheduled to make a combined $10 million.
According to Bradshaw, he wasn’t surprised by the cuts.
"I saw it coming because of the money," he told ESPN. "Everything is about money I guess, so, yes, I was expecting it. I'm not discouraged at all.”
Even though the released players are no longer under contract with the Giants, there’s still a chance they could play for New York in 2013. Boley told WFAN that he is likely done with the club, but Bradshaw wasn’t as adamant that his time in New York is over.
"It was mentioned," the running back told WFAN, regarding the possibility of re-signing with the Giants. "And there is always a door open on my side."
Bradshaw has spent all of his six years in the NFL with the Giants. In 2012, he led the club with 1,015 rushing yards as the team’s No.1 running back.
A history of injuries would have made it difficult for New York to commit $4.25 million to the 26-year-old. Bradshaw has missed six games in the last two seasons, and recently underwent a third surgery on his right foot. He also had procedures done on his left foot and both ankles.
There is a chance Bradshaw could re-sign with New York at a reduced price, but the team has enough depth at the position that they won’t break the bank to bring him back. In their brief time on the field, rookie David Wilson and second-year man Andre Brown proved to be more than capable of the getting most of the Giants carries.
Wilson carried the ball 71 times for 358 yards in 2012. He came on strong at the end of the season, averaging 5.7 yards per carry in the last four games. Brown ran it 73 times for an average of 5.3 yards, including a 113-yard, two-touchdown performance in Week Three when he got the start for Bradshaw.
New York doesn’t have as much talent at the defensive tackle position as they do at running back, but it’s not likely that Canty will come back at a reduced price. Mike Carafolo of USA Today reported that Canty was not offered a pay cut before he was released.
Canty was an important part of the Giants defense that won the Super Bowl a year ago, but the 30-year old suffered through injuries in 2012. He played just nine games and recorded 26 tackles.
The Giants are from finished making moves, as they look to improve on a team that went 9-7 and missed the playoffs. David Diehl, Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas have been rumored as possible releases.
New York may also restructure the contracts of Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.