A year ago, Giants players were being showered in ticker tape. This year, it's pink slips.
The Giants continued to purge their roster of veteran money Wednesday by releasing running back Ahmad Bradshaw and defensive tackle Chris Canty a day after they parted ways with linebacker Michael Boley. All three played critical roles in the 2011 season's Super Bowl championship, and all three had their playing time limited by injuries in 2012.
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By cutting the three players, the Giants will save $13.75 million against the salary cap in 2013.
"The financial implications are what's at play here," Canty said in an interview Wednesday afternoon on ESPN Radio in New York. "I didn't see it coming."
Canty said he did not believe it would be possible to return to the Giants for less money. Bradshaw, however, said he would be amenable to that idea.
"They had to move on," Bradshaw said on WFAN. "They even also mentioned future possibilities . . . it's always a door open on my side."
The Giants could be looking to dump more money in the coming days. David Diehl, Corey Webster and others have big salary numbers that may not be in proportion to the roles the Giants see for them in 2013 and beyond.
Bradshaw is the first of the most recent two-time Super Bowl champions to be released (Aaron Ross left last year via free agency). His departure leaves long snapper Zak DeOssie as the only remaining member of the Giants' 2007 draft class who was instrumental to their recent run of success.
Bradshaw, who underwent surgery this offseason to remove and replace a screw in his right foot, said last week that he understood his days with the Giants could be numbered.
"There's always a chance of me not being back next year," Bradshaw said Saturday at the Super Bowl in New Orleans. "With David [Wilson] there, Andre [Brown], now they may have what they're looking for and they may be light on cash . . . I hope to be a Giant no matter what, but you never know what happens."
Bradshaw finishes his Giants tenure sixth on the franchise's career rushing list with 4,232 yards and seventh with 921 rushing attempts. He ran for 32 touchdowns, ninth in team history. In his six seasons, he played in 84 regular-season games, with 33 starts.
His ability to play through chronic foot injuries made him a favorite of the coaching staff. Ultimately, it also made him expendable.
"Pound for pound, Bradshaw is one of the toughest football players that I've been around," general manager Jerry Reese said. "Ahmad played football like Giants football should be played."
Coach Tom Coughlin called Bradshaw "the epitome of line up and play.
"Regardless of the circumstances, he's going to give you everything he's got," Coughlin said. "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."
Replacing Bradshaw will fall to Wilson, last year's first-round draft pick. Reese said at the end of the 2012 season that Wilson was ready to take on a larger role in the offense. The Giants also are expected to bring back Brown, who is a restricted free agent.
Bradshaw, 26, said last week that he'd be in the NFL even if it was not with the Giants in 2013. He received tepid interest when he was a free agent two years ago, and further damage to his ankles and feet likely will diminish his market.
Canty, 30, could land elsewhere quickly. He said Tuesday that he feels healthy after having offseason knee surgery last winter. He spent the first half of the 2012 season on the physically unable to perform list.
Canty did not rule out signing with the Jets, where he could return to playing as a 3-4 defensive end, as he did at the University of Virginia and during the first four years of his NFL career with the Cowboys. "All possibilities are on the table right now," he said.
Canty also said he would miss the relationships with teammates and staff on the Giants.
"I wish everybody here the best," he said. "That being said, I would love the opportunity to compete against the Giants."