The Giants sent a message to Ahmad Bradshaw yesterday by calling his bluff and inviting free-agent running back Jason Snelling to camp. With Snelling at the Giants’ practice facilities for a meeting with coaches, Bradshaw finally came around and agreed to terms on a new deal.

Meanwhile, if Osi Umenyiora wants to leave, the Giants have granted him permission to do so.

More on both situations after the jump.

We’ll start with Bradshaw. Confirmed by several reports, Bradshaw’s deal is four years, $18 million with $9 million guaranteed – which also includes an extra $2 million in “reachable benefits”.

It’s a surprisingly low deal considering two things. First: the market for starting running backs exploded with Carolina re-signing DeAngelo Williams to a six-year, $43 million deal with $21 million guaranteed. Because of that, it was expected that Bradshaw’s camp was going to seek a contract in that vicinity. Shockingly, it’s nowhere near that.

It’s also less per-year than Reggie Bush’s two-year, $9.75 million deal with Miami, and it’s even less than the four-years, $25 million – with $13 million guaranteed – that Brandon Jacobs got in 2009.

Second: it’s surprisingly low because of the fact that as recently as yesterday evening both sides were nowhere near a deal; Washington was rumored to be making a run at Bradshaw (before they acquired Tim Hightower); he was even scheduling a trip to Cincinnati for a visit (before they re-signed Cedric Benson).

The Dolphins made a mistake by trading for Reggie Bush, who owns the bigger all-around name but lacks the bigger all-around game. Bradshaw stated Wednesday both the Dolphins and Giants were at the top of his list, with neither team holding an advantage, but soon after he fell out of Miami’s price range.

The Giants always intended to re-sign Bradshaw, their number free agent target this offseason, who spent much of last season as the No. 1 running back and rushed for 1,235 yards. They even worked with Brandon Jacobs to restructure his contract and take a small paycut.

So, despite rumors that Dan Snyder would pick random numbers out of a hat for the terms of a deal, Miami’s trade for Bush essentially made Bradshaw’s only viable option to return to New York.

Jason Snelling, meanwhile, is almost certainly not going to be in the running back rotation after playing the role of Bradshaw’s bait for 24 hours.

Kudos to GM Jerry Reese and the Giants’ front office for re-signing the team’s top priority this offseason, and at such a low rate while struggling to stay under the $120 million salary cap.

Now, we turn to the Osi situation.

Tony Agnone, the agent for the disgruntled defensive end, was officially given permission to seek a trade – if that’s what Osi wants – according to two sources. Agnone, began making phone calls to other teams on Monday, the source said. The Giants are looking for “at least” a first-round pick in the trade, first reported by ESPN, and according to sources the Giants may not be inclined to settle for less than that.

The Giants aren’t particularly rushing to trade the 29-year-old Umenyiora, but the situation between him and the organization appears to have reached a breaking point. In a sworn affidavit as part of the recent Brady vs. NFL lawsuit, Umenyiora said GM Jerry Reese told him in 2008 that if he was still playing at a high level in two years, he would reward him with a new contract or he would trade him to a team that would pay him like a top-five defensive end.

Despite what Tom Coughlin called a good conversation on Saturday night between Umenyiora and GM Jerry Reese, a source close to the situation said Umenyiora used the conversation to simply reiterate his demands – to either pay him more or trade him to a team that will.

Umenyiora has two years and $7.1 million remaining on his deal, which, at the time of the signing of the deal, was near market value for a Pro Bowl-caliber defensive end. Now, that market has blown up. Case in point, just a few days ago the Carolina Panthers re-signed defensive end Charles Johnson to a six-year, $72 million contract withi $21 million in guaranteed money. Johnson, entering his fifth season, had 11.5 sacks last season (but just 10.0 combined sacks from 2007-09). Umenyiora also had 11.5 sacks last season, along with a franchise-record 10 forced fumbles.

Umenyiroa told The Associated Press through email, “I hope there is a chance (to work things out with the Giants)….But who knows. What really annoys me is the hypocrisy of people clamoring for my head for asking for a new deal or to be traded.”

Umenyiora mentions how fixtures like Shaun O’Hara and Rich Seubert were recently released, to make a point as to exactly why players need to get the best deal possible when the time calls for it.

“Saying I have two years left on my deal,” Umenyiora wrote. “These contracts only mean something to us? Where is O’Hara? Where is Seubert? True inspirational football players. They were cut after being injured. They have years left on their deal. Why is Jacobs asked to take a pay cut? He has (two) years left on his deal.”

“The fact is in the business we are in, if you get injured, or they feel like you underperformed, they cut you without hesitation,” Umenyiora continued. “But if you clearly outplay your contract, and ask for something to be done, you’re a bad guy and not a team player. It’s ridiculous.”

Osi took notice at Charles Johnson’s new contract: “How does a guy who had one good year (no disrespect to Charles Johnson) sign a deal and make more than both me and (Justin) Tuck combined? It’s not right. Everyone in this business understands that is exactly what it is. Business. And just like none of us get upset when our teammates are released due to business decisions, the teams also don’t get upset when something like this happens. It’s just frustrating to see how people react to one thing, and not the other. Just be fair.”

GM Jerry Reese was a guest on the Boomer And Carton Show on WFAN on Monday morning, and said, “Osi and I had a very good conversation and really that is all I am going to say about that…There are still some ongoing issues involved with that.

“We’ll do what’s best for the New York Giants,” Reese added when asked if he will give the defensive end a raise. “I don’t have any comments about Osi until we get all the issues resolved.”

It’s not clear who would be interested in parting with a first-round draft pick for a nine-year veteran who missed the 2008 season with knee surgery, and is currently recovering from offseason hip surgery and has not been cleared to practice yet.

It’s also not clear if the Giants have set a deadline for Umenyiora and his agent to find a willing trade partner. Until then, though, Umenyiora is expected to remain in training camp – but won’t practice yet – and will most likely refrain from talking to the media until the situation is resolved.

A first-round pick is very precious to NFL teams, especially now considering the rookie salary cap makes those picks much more affordable. To trade a pick of that value in order to give a 29-year-old defensive end with some recent injury issues (and lots of distractions) a contract worth around $10 million per-year is not a smart move at all. If the Giants are dead set on trading him, they may need to lower their wish from a first- to a second-round pick, possibly grabbing an extra pick out of the deal if they drop their asking price – like the second- and fifth-round picks the Giants got for Jeremy Shockey in 2008.

There are only a handful of teams early on who are rumored to be expressing interest: the St. Louis Rams, the San Diego Chargers, the Seattle Seahawks, the Denver Broncos, and the Baltimore Ravens. Sources suggest Baltimore is an unlikely spot, and another source said it’s doubtful the Seahawks would be willing to give up a high pick and pay Umenyiora what he wants on top of that.

The Denver Broncos have the NFL’s worst defensive line, and are rumored to be interested, but the asking price is very steep for them as well. The team to watch could be the St. Louis Rams. Their coach is former Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who knows what Umenyiora can do and knows how to use him effectively. Spags knows Umenyiora would happily play for him, and the Rams have some cap room to spend anyway.

There are some other teams that could be potential fits on paper, but haven’t been rumored as being interested. The Cleveland Browns own two first-round picks (one being Atlanta’s), so you can bet the Giants will be in contact with them. The New England Patriots have extra first AND second round picks in the 2012 Draft, and need an edge rusher.

As always, though, everything goes back to the first-round draft pick, and it’s getting more and more unreasonable as this drags out that the Giants will end up receiving one in return for their ticked off defensive end.

If the Giants get desperate and this situation turns to chaos (and it might be heading there), that’s the only time I can see them lowering their demands. Even then, that might not happen. As it is now, they are standing firm to their demand that they get a first-rounder in return.

And, remember, our front office isn’t dumb; there’s no way the Giants will trade Umenyiroa to an NFC East team. Reese isn’t going to help a division rival’s pass rush against our franchise quarterback, and personally I’d be shocked if he ends up in the NFC at all.

Two things are for sure. 1) There is almost no chance Umenyiroa will be playing for the Giants under his current contract; and 2) the Giants have no intention of restructuring his current deal at all, even if they had the salary cap room (which they definitely don’t).

The Giants have played this situation perfectly. They couldn’t have gameplanned for this any better. If you recall, Umenyiora told Jerry Reese that he wanted the Giants to either pay him like a top-five defensive end, or trade him to a team that would. A top-five defensive end is naturally worth a first-round pick, no question. So, either the Giants get a first-rounder for him (or an even better offer), which is a no-brainer, hurry-up-and-accept-before-they-change-their-minds kind of deal; or, Umenyiora learns that the entire League doesn’t think he’s in the top-five at his position.


Unless the Giants cave…