Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger reported, and our Adam Schefter confirms, that the New York Giants have decided to release running back Brandon Jacobs because they have been unable to come to terms on a renegotiated contract with him. Jacobs was entering the final year of his contract and was scheduled to make $4.9 million in 2012. But the Giants have salary-cap concerns and have been working with Jacobs in an effort to get him to agree to cut that salary, perhaps by half or more.
Jacobs, who took a pay cut last year so the team could re-sign his friend and backfield-mate Ahmad Bradshaw, said recently that he'd be amenable to a cut, but only if it were "fair." Apparently, he and the team could not reach agreement on what would constitute "fair," and Jacobs will now look for work elsewhere.
Jacobs rushed for 4,849 yards and 56 touchdowns and, perhaps more importantly, won two Super Bowls in seven years with the Giants. His best individual season was 2008, when he averaged five yards per carry and racked up 1,089 yards and 15 touchdowns in only 13 games. He was less productive in recent years and lost the starting job to Bradshaw, but he played a key role this past year when Bradshaw had to miss games with a foot injury, and he and Bradshaw worked well together as a running back committee.
The Giants have some young running backs, including D.J. Ware, Da'Rel Scott and Andre Brown, but they also could look on the free-agent market or in the draft for someone to replace Jacobs' carries and production. Michael Bush and Mike Tolbert are both free-agent running backs who have performed well in committee roles in recent years and would fit well if the Giants decided to go in that direction. Of course, it's unlikely they'll get either of those guys for less than it would have cost them to keep Jacobs.
It has to be a tough parting for Jacobs and the Giants, even though both sides saw it coming for months. The Giants are the only NFL team for which Jacobs has played, and they've had a great deal of success together. But such is life in the NFL's salary-cap world. The Giants would have liked to keep him, but this time around, they couldn't make it work financially.