The Indianapolis Colts have rightly made a heavy investment in better protecting their franchise quarterback this offseason, acquiring offensive line help that includes prized free-agent right tackle Gosder Cherilus. The addition of ex-New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw will provide one of the more underrated elements in stopping Andrew Luck from defending his crown as the league’s most-hit quarterback.
While the Colts didn’t boast a running back that rated higher than 42nd-ranked in blocking at his position last season according to Pro Football Focus, Bradshaw finished first in the league.
“The signing of Ahmad Bradshaw tells you precisely how GM Ryan Grigson felt about his running back situation: It wasn’t good enough,” wrote Rotoworld’s Evan Silva. “Vick Ballard is a workmanlike, try-hard runner with backup-caliber talent. Kerwynn Williams is a kick-returning seventh-round rookie, and Delone Carter and Donald Brown are competing for one roster spot. Bradshaw (foot) sat out OTAs and minicamp, but he will be the starter on Opening Day.”
Bradshaw, the Giants’ seventh-round pick back in 2007, saw his yards-per-carry total bottom out in 2011 at 4.0 but saw a bounce-back year in 2013 at 4.6. This was highlighted by an incredibly strong finish in registering 6.7 yards per carry in a 107-yard performance to close out Week 17 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The veteran running back has battled his share of foot issues over the years but continues to produce. When he’s on the field, Bradshaw’s more than worth the one-year, $1.1 million deal Indy gave him, including just a $250,000 signing bonus. As ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky notes, this is a comparatively frugal deal especially in measuring against the Tennessee Titans‘ Shonn Green signing.