Four years ago the Giants were an NFL power, one year removed from a Super Bowl championship and possibly one gunshot wound away from winning two in a row. They had won 16 of their last 21 games, including playoffs. And they had money to spend.
That’s when, in the first 40 hours of the 2009 free-agent signing period, they took an $83 million dive into the deep end and grabbed linebacker Michael Boley and defensive tackles Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard as fast as they could. They sensed their championship window was open. And three years later, all three players would contribute as the Giants again won it all.
That second title came less than 13 months ago, and now Canty and Boley are gone, along with two-time champion Ahmad Bradshaw. Bernard is a soon-to-be 34-year-old free agent and unlikely to be re-signed.
That’s the harsh reality of life in the NFL.
And that is the right way to build an NFL team.
It’s out with the old and in with the new, and quickly. And if that sounds mean, that’s just too bad. The reality is there is exactly one untouchable player on the Giants’ roster and he has two Super Bowl MVP trophies. Everyone else on the team is expendable, no matter how much sentiment is involved.
Think about it. Bradshaw may be, as GM Jerry Reese said “pound for pound... one of the toughest football players that I've been around.” He may have been a spark in their Super Bowl XLII run and a key cog in the engine on the drive to XLVI. But he’s also an old 26 with the feet and ankles of a 50-year-old and simply cost too much this year.
Boley had been the brains of the defense since arriving in 2009, but hamstring injuries have robbed him of his burst. And as valuable as the 6-7, 317-pound Canty has been, his presence couldn’t help the dying pass rush of the NFL’s second-worst defense, and his cap hit was a robust $8.2 million.
It’s not that the Giants can’t use them. The Giants know what they’re worth and decided it was time to move on. They were about $10 million over the projected salary cap a few days ago. Three quick cuts cleared $13.75 million in space. It was necessary.
There is surely more to come.

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