Ahmad Bradshaw wants to return to the Giants.
He said exactly that in an interview with ESPN Radio in New York Monday night. And quite likely, the Giants would love to have him back.
But that might not be possible.
Let's do a little background to start. Reports from various news sources indicate that a new collective bargaining agreement is so close that a players vote could happen Wednesday and the owners could vote for ratification in Atlanta on Thursday. Some big stumbling blocks still remain, like the settlement of Brady v. NFL, but if they get that done, players could be reporting to their team facilities by Saturday.
Once the CBA is ratified, general managers will have three days to learn the new signing rules and management of a salary cap that will come in at around $123 million. After that, they'll have 72 hours to negotiate with their own draft picks and free agents.
This is where the Bradshaw issue comes in. Under the projected new rules, Bradshaw will hit the signing period as an unrestricted free agent as the qualifications revert to the original four years as opposed to six under the 2010 rules for the uncapped year.
The question then becomes, are the Giants willing to meet Bradshaw's demands for $5 to $6 million per year and keep him off the free market, or will they simply let him go find the best offer? Miami is also reportedly interested in the running back who, incidentally, fumbled seven times last year.
Complicating matters is the money they have invested in his backfield partner, Brandon Jacobs. He's due $4.65 million this year and $4.9 million next year. Handing Bradshaw even bigger money would create a very expensive situation, not to mention the continuation of a frustrating arrangement for two tailbacks who feel they both should start.
It's also significant that Bradshaw is coming off ankle cleanup surgery, and no one has any idea what kind of shape he'll be in once training camp opens.
It's quite a dilemma. But it will be resolved quickly. That's how these things are going to go all over the league once the owners and players finalize a new CBA, quite possibly by week's end.