EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. —
The New York Giants continued their roster purge after missing the playoffs, cutting leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw and defensive tackle Chris Canty.
The salary cap-saving moves on Wednesday came one day after New York let starting weakside linebacker Michael Boley go after four seasons.
Bradshaw, Canty and Boley were all veterans who contributed to the Giants’ Super Bowl win over the Patriots a year ago, but they all had big contracts and battled injuries.
Bradshaw, who has had knee and ankle injuries, was to earn $4.25 million. He became expendable with the play of rookie David Wilson. Canty, who had knee issues with the Giants after never missing a game with Dallas, was to earn $6.5 million next season. Boley, who had shoulder and hamstring injuries last season, was to make $4 million this season.
The biggest surprise might have been the release of Bradshaw, who was one of the emotional leaders of the team.
The 26-year-old, who played on two Super Bowl championship teams with the Giants, led the team in rushing each of the past three seasons, gaining 1,015 this past season.
“Pound for pound, Bradshaw is one of the toughest football players that I’ve been around,” said general manager Jerry Reese, who took Bradshaw with the 250th pick in the 2007 draft. “Ahmad played football like Giants football should be played.”
One of the moments fans will remember is Bradshaw yelling at coach Tom Coughlin during a game this past season, saying he wanted the ball more. Coughlin had no problems with his fire.
“He is not only an exceptional football player, but he is the epitome of line up and play,” Coughlin said.
“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.”
Bradshaw is sixth on the franchise’s career rushing list with 4,232 yards and seventh with 921 rushing attempts.
He rushed for 32 touchdowns, the ninth-highest total in team history.
In his six seasons, he played in 84 regular-season games with 33 starts. He also caught 132 passes for 1,087 yards and three touchdowns.
The Giants’ first-round draft choice in 2012, Wilson rushed for 358 yards and four scores and also set a franchise record with 1,533 kickoff return yards. He will be backed up by Andre Brown, who rushed for 385 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns before breaking his leg in late November.