The owners are close to some sort of Collective Bargaining Agreement offer to the Player’s Association. Most owners walked away from Tuesday and Wednesday’s meetings cautiously optimistic. Some rumblings from these meeting include the unrestricted free agency threshold going back to four years. If this ruling is indeed mark of the new CBA, Ahmad Bradshaw, Kevin Boss, and Steve Smith will all become unrestricted free agents. The Giants have expressed that they want to re-sign all three players, namely Bradshaw and that task may become even more difficult this summer.

Don't Reach

To understand what’s going on here, let’s clarify the differences between a restricted free agent and an unrestricted one. Under the old system, a player became a restricted free agent (RFA) if he accrued three seasons with one club. During this period of restricted free agency, the player can negotiate with other clubs until a certain date. If the new club makes an offer and the player accepts, the player’s original team can match the offer and retain the player or choose not to match and receive draft picks.

Players who are unrestricted free agents (UFA) can freely negotiate with club. There’s no compensation for the player’s original club, should that player sign a contract with the club.

In a nutshell, when the new CBA is agreed upon and a four-year UFA period is enacted, expect pure chaos throughout the league.

Steve Smith dealt with a serious condition last season and is doubtful to be ready to go this season. Kevin Boss serves as the G-Men’s only┬álegitimate┬áTE threat, and Ahmad Bradshaw led the Giants in rushing last season. All of these players were tendered, prior to the lockout, but that may be useless, depending upon the new CBA.

Of the three, the Giants CANNOT afford to lose Bradshaw. We’ve already seen that Brandon Jacobs cannot shoulder a full-time load as the bellcow running back. Add in the fact that Bradshaw’s dual-threat ability and youth (25-years-old) and it’s almost a no-brainer that the Giants must keep him. If the Giants were to lose Bradshaw, they could only replace him with an older option (DeAngelo Williams, Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown will be FAs). Bradshaw is the key player on offense for the Giants and he’ll command a lot of dollars from the Mara family.

All three players are important to the future of the Giants, but Bradshaw should be the team’s top priority.

Other potential free agents of note: Mathias Kiwanuka, Barry Cofield, Chase Blackburn, Keith Bullock