2013 NFL free agents: Ahmad Bradshaw at the top of the running back list

Andrew Burton

Ahmad Bradshaw is one of the top free agent running backs for 2013. The former New York Giant still has plenty left in the tank.

After rushing for 1,015 yards on 221 carries in 2012, Ahmad Bradshaw earned himself a one-way ticket out of town for his efforts. The New York Giants cut ties with their soon-to-be 27-year-old running back in early February, leaving him as one of the the top free agents among running backs this offseason.

Bradshaw entered the league wearing a G-Men jersey back in 2007. Throughout his six-year tenure, he's rushed for 4,232 yards and 32 touchdowns on 921 carries. He's never been a complete featured back, instead splitting time with Brandon Jacobs and most recently the duo of Andre Brown and David Wilson. Will he become one this offseason?

His recent injury woes make that potential situation doubtful. Bradshaw hasn't played a full season since 2010, and always seems to find his way onto the weekly injury report. His surgically repaired right foot is still healing, leaving Bradshaw hopeful he will be ready for OTA action.

There lies the key concern for any potential suitor. Handing Bradshaw a lavish, multi-year deal may be a risky prospect for teams given his recent health. He still has several promising years left ahead of him, but it's tough to consider paying a running back top dollar when there's a strong chance he won't be on the field for every game.

NFL.com's Around The League has Bradshaw ranked as the No. 1 running back in free agency, ahead of Steven Jackson, Rashard Mendenhall and Reggie Bush. He'll certainly have competition in his search for a new franchise to call home.

Bradshaw recently expressed interest in returning to the Giants, but he wouldn't be receiving a lucrative deal. He was set to make $3.75 million in 2013. New York found that expense unnecessary, so looking elsewhere would be wise.

A base salary of around $3 million would place Bradshaw in the top 10 at his position, at least for now. Surely he wants to sign a long-term deal, but a shorter, incentive-based contract would make more sense. If he proves he can stay healthy throughout an entire season, the bonuses would ensue.

With Jackson wanting out of St. Louis, Bradshaw could fill that void for the Rams. Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead are still young, so bringing in an experienced back with the talent to shoulder the load in the backfield makes sense.

Bradshaw needs to stay healthy. Recovering from his foot surgery is the first step in that process.

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