After 132 days, the NFL lockout has officially come to an end. Now that the free-agency frenzy is starting, NFL teams will have tough decisions to make concerning their rosters. The New York Giants have two important free agents to consider bringing back: starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw and starting receiver Steve Smith.
Bradshaw was drafted by the Giants in the 7th round of the 2007 NFL Draft and first got significant carries during the end of the season and during their Super Bowl run. He played backup to Derrick Ward and Brandon Jacobs in 2008 and to Jacobs again in 2009 but was given his first chance to start in 2010.
When given the chance to start in 2010, Bradshaw didn't disappoint. He rushed for 1,235 yards and eight touchdowns despite fumble problems.
Also drafted in 2007, Steve Smith was a third down target for the Giants until 2009 when Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress where both gone from the team. Smith caught 107 balls for 1,220 yards in 2009 and broke the Giants record for receptions in a single season.
Both have been important for the Giants since they joined the team in 2007, but which of these free agents is more important for the future of the New York Giants?
First, let's look at the depth that the Giants have at both of those positions. At running back the Giants have Jacobs, Danny Ware and rookie Da'Rel Scott.
Jacobs has been productive in the past but he isn't the running back he was when he rushed for 1,000 yards in 2007 and 2008. He may have had 800 yards rushing last year but I'm not confident that I would want Jacobs to be my feature back. As for Ware and Scott, they are both young and unproven and also wouldn't want to put the running game on them.
Meanwhile, at the WR position the Giants have two wide receivers who have a bright future. In 2010, Hakeem Nicks broke out and had 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Another young receiver is the speedy Mario Manningham, who had 60 catches and 944 yards as the team's third receiver.
There is no question that Smith and Bradshaw are great players, but they both bring baggage with them. Even though he rushed for 1,000 yards in 2010, Bradshaw also fumbled seven times which led the league. The problem that the Giants face with Smith is an injury problem. Smith missed the second half of the 2010 season due to a knee injury and off season rumors have said that Smith may not be ready for the start of the season and may start on the PUP list.
Smith and Bradshaw are great players and the New York Giants should try and bring both of them back in 2010. In terms of what's more important and best for the team though, Bradshaw is priority No. 1 for the Giants.