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Sunday, July 31, 2011
What's going on with Ahmad Bradshaw?

By Dan Graziano

Giants fans are getting restless -- in general, actually, but specifically about what's going on with Ahmad Bradshaw, the free-agent running back whose contract negotiations with the team have taken longer than expected and who remains unsigned as the clock ticks toward midnight on a Sunday on the East Coast.

Bottom line: I'd still bet on a Bradshaw return to New York. But he and his agent have clearly been working very hard to create a market that will allow him to get top dollar. And based on this Star-Ledger report that Jason Snelling is visiting the team Monday, it appears the Giants are getting annoyed and would like a resolution of this situation sooner rather than later.

A quick recap:

A couple of weeks ago, when it appeared the NFL lockout would be ending soon, Bradshaw and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said publicly that Bradshaw would be interested in playing for the Miami Dolphins. It appeared to be a fit, and there was some interest from the Dolphins' end. But they traded for Reggie Bush last week, and that door closed.

Last week, Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, who lost the starter's job to Bradshaw last year, agreed to a restructuring of his contract. The main reason Jacobs agreed was because he didn't want to get cut. But Jacobs and Bradshaw are friends, and the team's pitch to Jacobs was that the restructuring would help free up salary-cap space and money to help them keep the two together. Still, however, the week ended without a new deal for Bradshaw.

Sunday morning, there were reports that the Washington Redskins were interested in Bradshaw. This seemed odd, because the Redskins have lots of running backs to whom they want to give carries and they aren't making signings that big right now. They're putting together pieces for a rebuilding project. And while Bradshaw is young and talented enough to be a guy around whom to build, it's highly doubtful that Washington would offer the kind of commitment for which Bradshaw is looking. Later in the day, the Redskins acquired Tim Hightower from the Cardinals, presumably closing the door on Bradshaw in Washington.

John Clayton reported Sunday afternoon that Bradshaw was scheduled to visit the Cincinnati Bengals this week. But within minutes of that report, Cedric Benson agreed to a new deal with the Bengals, which likely means Benson got scared by John's report and agreed to Cincinnati's offer. This closed the door on Bradshaw in Cincinnati.

So the Giants, who have other business (Kevin Boss, Steve Smith, free-agent linebackers, this Osi Umenyiora mess) to attend to, seem to be getting sick of waiting to see which team Bradshaw will flirt with next, and they're bringing in Snelling. Bradshaw is better than Snelling, and certainly the Giants would prefer to keep him. But they'd also like Bradshaw in camp sometime soon, and there comes at point at which they'll have to decide to move on without him if he's not ready to commit. The Giants don't play around, and I believe that if Bradshaw drags his feet much longer they could go on to Plan B, be that Snelling, Ronnie Brown or some combination of backs on the market. They still do have Jacobs, remember, who's a pretty valuable backfield piece when healthy.

My guess is that the Snelling stuff does to Bradshaw what the Bradshaw report did to Benson -- prods him to look a little more seriously at whatever it is the Giants have on the table. I'm sure it's not ashtray change, whatever it is. And while it might be fun to keep looking around, the market isn't exactly booming anymore and he may be better off taking the deal from the team he knows and likes rather than risking them making it disappear.