- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPNNewYork.com
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After releasing linebacker Michael Boley the day before, the Giants cut their starting running back and starting defensive tackle as they try to create more cap space while also moving in a different direction after a 9-7 season in which the 2011 Super Bowl champions missed the playoffs.
The Giants were projected to be $4.7 million over the salary cap for 2013 by NFL senior writer John Clayton, and the team has to create space to try to keep its own free agents such as left tackle Will Beatty and restricted free agents such as Victor Cruz, Stevie Brown and Andre Brown.
Bradshaw was due to make $3.75 million in base salary this season and had two years remaining on his contract. Canty was set to make $6.25 million this season in base salary and also had two years left on his deal. On Tuesday, the Giants waived Boley, who was due $4.25 million in base salary.
All three veterans were key components in the Giants' Super Bowl run in 2011. The Giants, who also released defensive tackle Martin Parker, likely are not done in revamping their roster since they want to keep young stars such as wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Cruz. Nicks is entering the final year of his contract, and Cruz is a restricted free agent who wants an extension.
"I saw it coming because of the money," Bradshaw told ESPN's Josina Anderson. "Everything is about money I guess, so, yes, I was expecting it. I'm not discouraged at all.
"I'm just looking toward getting healthy and working with somebody else. That is all I can do. The Giants fans will always be remembered and always be loved. This is where I started and I just want to thank everybody for their support. Hopefully, I'll be back soon."
Bradshaw said both sides left the door open for a potential reunion down the road.
"It was mentioned," Bradshaw said in an interview on WFAN radio. "And there is always a door open on my side."
Bradshaw, 26, rushed for 1,015 yards and six touchdowns as the team's primary running back this past season. However, he's had a history of battling through foot and ankle injuries and recently had surgery to have a screw replaced in his right foot, keeping him out for another eight weeks.
"Pound for pound, Bradshaw is one of the toughest football players that I've been around," general manager Jerry Reese said in a statement released by the team. "Ahmad played football like Giants football should be played."
Bradshaw was the team's toughest player, consistently playing through pain with his surgically repaired feet and ankles. Besides being Eli Manning's best pass protector in the backfield, Bradshaw also was considered one of the team's most inspirational leaders through his hard punishing runs. He helped the team win two Super Bowls during his New York tenure.
However, one year after scoring the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLVI, Bradshaw was uncertain about his future with the emergence of the team's 2012 first-round pick David Wilson and Andre Brown, who scored eight touchdowns this past season before breaking his leg.
Reese has said he believes Wilson, who rushed for 358 yards and four touchdowns this past season, can carry the load. Tom Coughlin, though, likes having multiple backs and may lean on a combo of Wilson and Brown.
Coughlin, though, will miss one of his favorite players.
"Ahmad Bradshaw was drafted 250th in a class of 255 and to excel and to perform the way that he has, and to accomplish what he has, is a great tribute to him," Coughlin said in a statement of the team's seventh-round pick in 2007. "He is not only an exceptional football player, but he is the epitome of line up and play. Regardless of the circumstances, he's going to give you everything he's got. If you give the ball to him, he's going to get every inch of what is there -- and sometimes when it's not blocked, he still gets it."
Canty battled his way back from offseason knee surgery to play in nine games last year after starting the season on the physically unable to perform list. The 6-foot-7 defensive tackle had 26 tackles and three sacks in nine games last season. He played four seasons for the Giants after signing as a free agent from Dallas.
"Chris Canty is a high-character, highly intelligent young man," Coughlin said. "He distinguished himself a year ago down the stretch for a number of reasons. One, the quality of his play, and two, is the toughness he displayed, which was a great statement about the quality of the individual."
The New York Giants have released veterans Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Canty.