In the aftermath following the disaster that was Johnny Manziel’s first start...
Cleveland Browns Rumors: Could Ahmad Bradshaw be the Lightning to Trent Richardson’s Thunder in 2013?
By Bob Evans
On Tuesday, the New York Giants shocked the NFL by cutting starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw in a salary cap saving move. The six-year veteran was set to make $4.25 million in 2013, but after suffering knee and ankle injuries over the past two seasons—and the emergence of rookie David Wilson—the Giants decided to move on from him.
The Cleveland Browns will have some decisions of their own to make at the running back position over the next couple of months; as they will have to decide what to do with former Tom Heckert draft pick Montario Hardesty—Trent Richardson’s current backfield mate. If the team decides to move on from the inconsistent, injury prone Hardesty, do not be surprised if they consider bringing in Bradshaw to add an extra dynamic to their backfield.
Despite coming off two consecutive seasons with injuries, Bradshaw racked up 392 carries for 1,674 yards and 15 touchdowns in 26 regular season games in 2011 and 2012. His 4.2 yard-per carry average would be a welcome addition to the Browns’ backfield spelling Richardson; as he could add a major speed and big-play dynamic that Hardesty and the Browns’ back-ups do not currently offer.
Hardesty showed some promise toward the end of the 2012 season, but his proficiency to put the ball on the ground could seal his fate in Cleveland. With that said, Bradshaw has been known to fumble the ball on occasion—racking up 10 fumbles in his last three seasons (seven in 2010 and three in 2012). Signing the 26-year old certainly comes with a few risks, but his production while sharing the backfield with Brandon Jacobs in 2010 (276 carries, 1,235 yards and eight touchdowns) shows he is willing to share the load with another running back. In that same season, Jacobs carried the ball 147 times for 823 yards and nine touchdowns himself.
Obviously the first thing Bradshaw would have to do is understand he is not the feature back in Cleveland—something that would be very clear from day one. But having an insurance policy like Bradshaw on the roster who has less than 1,000 carries in his NFL career and plenty of experience carrying the football in big games would be a luxury for the Browns.
Is this a move the new Browns’ front office would make? Well, that all depends on whether or not Joe Banner and Jimmy Haslam would view Bradshaw as a “splashy move”. If so, then he will likely not be considered based on Haslam’s previous comments.
With the team’s No. 3 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft already missing time in his rookie season due to injury, the Browns could do a lot worse than adding Bradshaw to their running back stable. And with the duo of Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner now in charge of the team’s offense, let’s just say they know the importance of having more than one quality running back on the roster.
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