Bradshaw, who has spent his entire career with New York, had his second-best season, statistically, in 2012, rushing for 1,015 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games. His history of lower leg injuries continued, however, as the 26-year-old required surgery after the season to replace a screw in his right foot.
He is expected to be fully recovered in time for offseason team activities, but the Giants decided to part ways in an effort to reduce their $4.7 million salary cap overage — a move that did not surprise Bradshaw.
“I saw it coming because of the money,” the running back told ESPN. “Everything is about money I guess, so, yes, I was expecting it. I’m not discouraged at all.”
Bradshaw, who scored the game-clinching touchdown in New York’s 21-17 over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, was the third member of the Giants’ 2011 championship run to hit free agency in the last two days, as the team also cut defensive lineman Chris Canty and linebacker Michael Boley. The three were slated to make a combined $14.25 million in 2013.
Bradshaw also played on the team’s Super Bowl XLII champion squad in 2007, when he gained only 190 yards on 23 carries throughout the entire regular season but totaled 208 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries in four playoff games.
“Pound for pound, Bradshaw is one of the toughest football players that I’ve been around,” Giants general manager Jerry Reese said in a statement released by the team. “Ahmad played football like Giants football should be played.”
With the departure of Bradshaw, second-year tailback David Wilson projects as the starter in New York. Wilson gained only 358 yards as a rookie in 2012 but averaged 5.0 yards per carry and saw significant playing time down the stretch. The diminutive first-round pick carried the ball 12 or more times in three of the team’s last four games, including a 100-yard, two-touchdown performance in a 52-27 win over New Orleans in Week 14.