What's Next for Ahmad Bradshaw After Being Released by the Giants?

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What's Next for Ahmad Bradshaw After Being Released by the Giants?
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Ahmad Bradshaw is looking for work just over one calendar year removed from scoring the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLVI

This NFL business sure is cutthroat. 

A source with "knowledge of the transaction" told ProFootballTalk.com that Bradshaw was released by the New York Giants on Wednesday, along with other G-Men veterans Michael Boley and Chris Canty

So, where does this feisty, soon-to-be-27-year-old rusher go from here?

Remember, Bradshaw ran for over 1,000 yards at a 4.6 yards-per-carry clip with six rushing touchdowns—in 2012. 

The reasoning behind his release is three-fold. 

Elsa/Getty Images

First, the team is high on electric, 2012 first-round pick David Wilson. Despite getting off to an inauspicious start last season, he came on strong down the stretch and hit a few big plays in the return and run game. 

Secondly, cutting Bradshaw "creates $2.75 million in cap space" for the G-Men, according to Rotoworld.com.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, the running back's chronic foot injuries apparently led to a failed physical that was the official basis for his release. 

Every team considering Bradshaw will dig deep into his foot issues. 

Here's Bleacher Report's sports injury Lead Writer Will Carroll on the current injury status of the now free-agent runner:

Bradshaw has a chronic foot problem that was corrected by the insertion of two screws, one in each foot. Unfortunately, he's had continued problems. He had one screw replaced with a larger one and, last offseason, used a controversial stem cell procedure to try and gain some relief. The issue is likely to plague him for the rest of his career, making him a part-time player and a risky one at that. He would be better suited for a team with a grass field. 

In all likelihood, Bradshaw will be a limited practice player, a guy who rests during the week and fights through the pain on Sundays. 

Carroll suggests a team with a grass field would better suit Bradshaw. 15 teams currently play on natural grass (Redskins, Chiefs, Dolphins, Panthers, Browns, Texans, Chargers, 49ers, Titans, Jaguars, Buccaneers, Steelers, Cardinals, Raiders and Bears), while three teams (Packers, Broncos, Eagles) play on a turf called "Desso GrassMaster"—a hybrid blend of natural and artificial grass. 

ESPN New York's Ohm Youngmisuk reported the following the day before Super Bowl XLVII:

New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw had another surgery to replace a screw in his right foot. Bradshaw was spotted in New Orleans at an autograph signing by reporters wearing a protective boot and moving around with his foot up on a scooter. He told reporters in New Orleans that the original timetable for recovery is 10 weeks and that he had the surgery two weeks ago.

Clearly, Bradshaw has a long rehabilitation journey ahead, but no reports have stated that he won't be ready for the 2013 season or even training camp.

The persistent foot injuries will scare teams away, but it's not out of the question that he's deemed worth the risk by some front office. 

Bradshaw's running style and skill set aren't necessarily flashy—he's not a home-run hitter, and he isn't the biggest, fastest, or most powerful. 

While that statement may come as a relative surprise, it shouldn't. 

Looking beyond his stellar career YPC average, PFF rated him as the best pass-blocking back in football in 2012 and the sixth-most effective overall.But this season wasn't a fluke. 

In 2011, only Fred Jackson graded as a better pass-blocker, and in 2010, Bradshaw was far and away the best pass-blocker among halfbacks, per PFF (subscription required). 

Flourishing as a pass protector is an enormous plus for any running back. Bradshaw certainly excels in that important aspect of the game—one that many fans often overlook. 

We mustn't forget that Bradshaw hasn't totally shut the door on returning to the Giants when healthy. Here's what CBS New York wrote about Bradshaw's appearance on WFAN:

According to Bradshaw, the Giants told him they “had to move on,” but mentioned “future possibilities” with the team. “Like I said, it was mentioned,” Bradshaw told WFAN host Mike Francesa on Wednesday. “(There’s) always a door open on my side.”

Is Bradshaw likely to return to the Giants? 

Doubtful.

After being asked about New York re-signing Bradshaw, Bleacher Report NFL Associate Editor Wes O'Donnell, a lifetime G-Men follower, said "I would be surprised if Giants did that...not like them at all."

A team like the Tennessee Titans instantly comes to mind as a fit for Bradshaw, although he and Chris Johnson have similar body types. 

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers could look for a feature back in the 2013 draft, but they've shown a willingness to acquire veteran runners in the past. In theory, Bradshaw could thrive as a Packer with defenses zeroing in on stopping Aaron Rodgers and the passing game.

While Bradshaw, fresh off a 1,000-yard season, probably feels he still can be a sure-fire No. 1 back, he will likely find himself on a team looking for a thumping No. 2 runner to pick up the blitz on third downs, catch passes out of the backfield and accumulate tough yards when spelling the starter. 

And usually, that guy is pretty valuable.

 

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