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On a day when the Giants set the wheels in motion to send one of their mainstays packing, they also found a way to make sure another one remains part of the team.
The Giants and Ahmad Bradshaw have agreed to terms on a new contract, which means the free agent won't be leaving for another team this season. Mike Garofalo of the Newark Star-Ledger broke the news on Monday afternoon, ending a period where Bradshaw remained unsigned without much reason to explain why he wasn't back with the Giants.
One of the biggest trends we've seen in this attempt to stick a several month offseason into one wacky week is that teams aren't looking to spend big money on running backs. Other than DeAngelo Williams, who re-signed with the Panthers for a hefty sum, teams are going for quantity as they stock their backfields with multiple players making reasonable sums of money.
The Giants were one of the teams that kicked this trend into motion when they rode Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward to a Super Bowl title in 2008. Ward went to the Bucs as a free agent and flopped royally, giving alert observers a head start on building their running games going forward.
As a result of this change in thinking, Bradshaw saw his possible new homes get occupied one by one until there really wasn't much choice other than returning to the Giants if he wanted to be a feature back. The only question would be when they would come to terms and for how much money, we now know the former and wait for details on the latter.
The whole thing was played perfectly by G.M. Jerry Reese. The Giants scheduled a meeting for Monday with running back Jason Snelling, a free agent who played second fiddle to Michael Turner in Atlanta, in a move to say that they believed in the larger trends and didn't need a big name back like Bradshaw to feel comfortable about the offense.
That had to play a role in getting the deal done and, combined with Brandon Jacobs agreeing to a pay cut last week, it means the Giants get their backfield for less money than they probably imagined. With that out of the way, the Giants can now get back to finding a way to make Osi Umenyiora someone else's problem.
The eternally unhappy defensive end showed up to camp this weekend, but hasn't practiced and was told Monday that he could begin shopping himself for a trade. The Giants are believed to be asking for a first-round pick, a demand that will likely have to come down if they are to actually rid themselves of a player who distracts his own team as much as he does opposing quarterbacks.
This is the right move for the Giants to make. As we wrote Friday, Umenyiora should be excised because that's the only sensible way for the Giants to make his constant griping about his contract disappear.
If Bradshaw left and Umenyiora was traded, it would have been hard to see the Giants as anything but a team in transition after they dumped a big chunk of their offensive line and let Barry Cofield walk away for nothing.
If they now move on to re-signing Steve Smith and Kevin Boss, however, the Giants look like a team that has realized their weaknesses on and off the field while also recongizing the players that make them a consistent winner.
And, best of all, they've done it in a way that maximizes the advantage for the team without compromising the culture that's also helped fuel their success. It's been a busy day for Reese and the Giants, but a very good one.