2011 Free Agency: Five Reasons Ahmad Bradshaw Is Worth Retaining

Adam RosenCorrespondent IIJuly 30, 2011

2011 Free Agency: Five Reasons Ahmad Bradshaw Is Worth Retaining

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    As training camp begins, Ahmad Bradshaw is not a member of the New York Giants, as his contract negotiations are currently ongoing.

    Still unsigned, Bradshaw is a key player to the offense, if they want to compete in 2011.

    Not signing Bradshaw would be unacceptable, and the Giants' front office must realize this.  If they don't, allow them to read "2011 Free Agency: 5 Reasons Ahmad Bradshaw is Worth Retaining"

    Maybe then, they'll offer him the contract he deserves, and realize his importance to the team. 

    So with the start of the regular season roughly six weeks away, sit back, relax and enjoy.

    It's almost time for kickoff. 

Still Has Plenty Left in the Tank

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    At 25 years old, it's rare for such a young, talented running back to be on the free-agent market. That is why the New York Giants are doing everything in their power to retain Ahmad Bradshaw.

    Coming off a career year, where Bradshaw established a new career-high in rushing yards (1,235 yards), to go along with eight touchdowns, in 2011, Bradshaw might get to that elusive double-digit touchdown mark. The Giants can certainly use that.

    After the infamous helmet-tossing incident during a Week 2 embarrassing performance against Indianapolis from former backfield mate, Brandon Jacobs, Bradshaw was named the starter.

    Despite his fumbling troubles from a season ago, trailing only the league leader Peyton Hillis with eight, Bradshaw might want to take advice from former Giants running back Tiki Barber to learn how to take care of the football.

    Otherwise, if he chooses to resign with the Giants, I'd like to believe head coach Tom Coughlin will not be afraid to send Bradshaw to the pine, as proven during his two turnover game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 9 of the regular season. 

    Since signing a four-year, $25 million contract with the Giants in February 2009, Jacobs has been a major disappointment.  He's simply another example of an athlete who got the contract he desperately coveted, but failed to produce, showing he's worth anything but, every dollar.

    Now Bradshaw, who's entering the prime of his career, is also seeking a new contract, and when he gets it, let's hope his desire to play isn't affected by the millions of dollars he's going to earn. 

    I have seen it too many times before.  

    I do not want to see it again. 

He Might Come Cheaper Than Expected

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    Once the Miami Dolphins completed their trade to acquire Reggie Bush, Bradshaw lost all of his leverage in contract negotiations since he's no longer needed in Miami.

    So instead of "taking his talents to South Beach," Bradshaw might be returning to the Big Apple at a discount rate. Receiving weaker offers than expected, according to Beat writer Mike Garafolo, "Bradshaw would still like a higher offer from the Giants," but he might not get what he wants. 

    With the re-signing of DeAngelo Williams, the Carolina Panthers no longer need a running back.  Neither do the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns or the New Orleans Saints.

    Although Bradshaw will still be looking for a major deal, his best option might only be with the Giants.  Jacobs has already agreed to restructure his contract, in order to help the team obtain Bradshaw. 

    It's time he learns something from his teammate. He'll certainly be better off.    

Health Is Not a Concern

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    He's 100 percent healthy.

    That's not what I know or think.

    Entering this season, that is what Bradshaw is saying after undergoing surgery to clean out his left ankle.

    Bradshaw stated before the surgery, "It was something that bothered me.  It wasn't a big factor unless someone really got a hold of it. It was really no problem because I could fight through it and I'd been fighting through it for years. I'm just ready to get it fixed." (espn.com)

    Now that his ankle is repaired, Bradshaw has to prove on the gridiron, that he's ready to go. 

    And if he is healthy, it'll be great to have him back. 

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover

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    It's no secret Bradshaw is one of the most versatile running backs in the NFL.

    So at 5'9", 198 pounds, Bradshaw possesses a great combination of speed and power. He has the ability to run through, or around defenders, while turning short-runs into massive gains.

    Not only is Bradshaw a bruiser of a running back, he also has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, while being targeted 58 times by Eli Manning last season, en route to establishing a career high in receptions (47) and receiving yards (314).  

    Beginning his career as punt returner and a third down option, behind Jacobs, current Houston Texans running back Derrick Ward, and Ruben Droughns, through injuries to teammates, displaying his ability to break tackles, and being very good out of the backfield, Bradshaw went from bench player to starter in only a few seasons.

    He might not have the build of a Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson, but he can certainly play with the best of them.

There's No One Else

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    Entering this offseason, due to the lack of running backs available on the free-agent market, Bradshaw was already a big fish in a small pond.

    Well, NFL teams might be experience a running back drought, now that DeAngelo Williams, Darren Sproles, Willis McGahee have all been signed, and 30-year old veteran Ronnie Brown is one of the few running backs still available. 

    If the Giants want to contend in 2011, they must re-sign Bradshaw.  There is no one else on the roster to replace him.  Not Da'Rel Scott.  Not D.J. Ware or anyone else the Giants might sign if Bradshaw gets away. 

    A season ago, the Giants were an underachieving 10-win team, en route to missing the playoffs.  If they want to underachieve again, don't offer Bradshaw a new contract, but if they want to play meaningful December football, Bradshaw must be on the roster when the season begins.

    Let's hope general manager Jerry Reese realizes this.