We hadn’t given running back Ahmad Bradshaw a lot of thought since he was released by the New York Giants on Feb. 6. In the meantime, the Green Bay Packers have been connected to the Rams’ Steven Jackson and we’ve speculated about the return of free agent Cedric Benson.
Maybe Bradshaw is the answer to the Packers subpar running game though. The NFL Network’s Heath Evans suggested as much on Friday and what we initially didn’t consider now makes some sense.
First, unlike Jackson and Benson, Bradshaw is still young for a running back. He’s 26, while both Jackson and Benson will be 30 during the 2013 season. If you look at the typical NFL running back’s career trajectory, that means Bradshaw probably has four more good seasons left.
Second, Bradshaw is known for his toughness, which is something the Packers certainly are not. That’s not to say Jackson and Benson aren’t tough, but Bradshaw also brings a winning pedigree from the Giants.
When he was released, Giants general manager Jerry Reese said this of Bradshaw.
“Pound for pound, Bradshaw is one of the toughest football players that I’ve been around,” said Reese, who took Bradshaw with the 250th pick in the 2007 draft. “Ahmad played football like Giants football should be played.”
Third, Bradshaw should be fairly affordable. He was scheduled to make $4.25 million in 2013, which isn’t a lot of money for a top-flight running back. Additionally, Bradshaw hasn’t garnered a lot of interest since he’s been on the open market. That means the Packers could potentially sign him for less than that $4.25 million number.
The problem with Bradshaw is injuries.
Bradshaw has missed six games over the past two seasons because of injury.
He still managed to rush for 1,015 yards in 2012 with a 4.6 yard average, when he missed two games. Bradshaw had 659 yards in 2011 (missed four games) and 1,235 in 2010.
An incentive-laden deal seems to be the logical way to go. Maybe the Packers will bite.