Unfortunately for the Giants, that means four of their starters from the 2010 season—Ahmad Bradshaw, Kevin Boss, Steve Smith and Barry Cofield—and two of their key reserves—Mathias Kiwanuka and Deon Grant—will be unrestricted free agents.
With that said, it's highly unlikely that New York will be able to retain even four of the six players—there is no way Cofield is coming back with Chris Canty, Linval Joseph and Marvin Austin all in the mix at DT—and depending on how much money Bradshaw, Smith, Boss and Kiwanuka are willing to settle for, the Giants may be limited to signing just two or three of them.
According to The New York Daily News, the 2011 salary cap will be set at, or close to, $120 million—there is speculation about whether it will be a hard or soft cap. This is unwelcoming news for the Giants, who, according to ESPN.com, are $11.3 million over the cap.
As a result, New York has to focus solely on its priorities—they have made it clear that signing Bradshaw is their No. 1 priority and hope that Bradshaw, Smith and Boss will sign for a reasonable price.
However, Bradshaw, who totaled 1,549 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns in 2010, has made it clear that he expects a big pay day and will sign with the team that offers him the most money.
"I take it very seriously where I want to be. I love New York and would love to stay there but then the money factor comes in," Bradshaw said in a radio interview with WQAM's Sid Rosenberg.
Of course, it doesn't help that he recently left his agent, Craig Domann, and hired Miami native Drew Rosenhaus, the NFL's version of Scott Boras.
Rosenhaus, who is known for getting his clients monster deals, stirred things up a little bit in an interview with Miami's 7 Sports Xtra, by saying that Bradshaw would be open to signing with the Dolphins.
"He's training here in Miami and would be very interested in the Dolphins," Rosenhaus said, according to Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "If they (the Dolphins) are interested in Ahmad, we're very interested in the Dolphins."
Although this is clearly a ploy to drive Bradshaw's stock up, the fact is that the Dolphins have much more money to offer—$13.6 million under—than the Giants do, so unless Bradshaw is willing to take less to sign with New York, he may be headed to Miami.
If he does, here are three free agent running backs that the Giants should target this offseason.