The New York Giants made some pretty surprising cuts today. They released running back Ahmad Bradshaw, defensive tackle Chris Canty, and linebacker Michael Boley, following a season in which Big Blue failed to make the playoffs.
Bradshaw was due to make $3.75 million next season and led the team in rushing in each of the past 3 season. Bradshaw was an integral part of the Giants last 2 Super Bowl titles in 2007 and 2011. After missing the first 7 games of this past season, Chris Canty rebounded to record 3 sacks and 26 tackles over the final 9 games. He was scheduled to make $6.25 million dollars next season. Michael Boley, who was due to make 4.25 million next season, had 92 tackles and 3 interceptions in 2012.
Giants fans are probably shaking their heads wondering about the future of their franchise. You don’t just replace all these players and win again right away. Well the Giants have a history of success after getting rid of essential players. The last time the Giants did something like this was after the 2010 season when they released key contributors such as receiver Steve Smith, offensive lineman Shaun O’Hara and Rick Seubert, and tight end Kevin Boss. The Giants failed to sign Plaxico Burress, and had just lost their first round pick, cornerback Prince Amukamara to a broken foot. Giants fans were furious, as they should have been. They lost their number 1 tight end, their most productive receiver, 2 starting offensive linemen, and a player who was supposed to be a big part of the teams pass defense. It was almost inevitable the Giants were going to finish at the bottom of the division, especially after the Philadelphia Eagles were adding big-time players left and right. The Giants, according to many, easily had the worst offseason of any team in the league. How did they do that season? I believe the Giants won the Super Bowl.
Some way, some how, the Giants find players out of no where who end up being major contributors. Victor Cruz who had done nothing in the NFL prior to the 2011 season, came in and had over 1,500 receiving yards to go along with 9 touchdowns. Jake Ballard became their starting tight end. He never played in the NFL before. Ballard had 38 catches and 4 touchdowns that season.
This past season after letting Brandon Jacobs walk, Ahmad Bradshaw being hurt, and David Wilson being ineffective, Andre Brown was the Giants starting running back. He was a nobody, a former 4th round journeyman who had been on 5 different teams the prior 3 seasons. Coming into last season, Brown played in 3 games and had -1 total rushing yards. He comes in week 2 against the Bucs and rushes for 71 yards. The next game against Carolina, Brown rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns. The Jets lose Santonio Holmes, and their offense disappears.
The Giants in recent years have become famous for letting key pieces leave, and having new unproven players replace them and make big time contributions. The Jets traded John Abraham after the 2005 season. He was a dominant pass rusher, they’re still looking to replace him. I don’t know if its some unworldly scouting, or some 4-leaf clover luck, but the Giants always seem to find buried treasure. Expect the same to happen again this year and don’t be shocked to see a 3rd Super Bowl in 7 years.
Follow the writer of this story on Twitter @lucasfrankel