The Green Bay Packers are continuing their flirtation with free-agent running backs.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, former New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw has received interest from the Packers, who were also reported to be deep into talks with free agent Steven Jackson.
Packers and Steelers have expressed interest in former Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2013
Bradshaw, who turns just 27 on March 19, was released by the Giants in early February, mostly in money-saving move.
Now, with Jackson’s signing in Atlanta, Bradshaw has likely become the top running back left in free agency.
However, Bradshaw has yet to make an official free-agent visit, most likely thanks to a well-documented history of lower-leg injuries that has scared off most clubs from showing legitimate interest. While Bradshaw has missed a total of just six games over the last two seasons and 12 since entering the NFL, he has often times played through various ailments to his ankles, feet and knees.
The injuries haven’t stopped Bradshaw from producing for New York’s offense.
Since 2009—the year he became a primary ball-carrier for the Giants—Bradshaw has rushed for 3,687 yards and 30 touchdowns while also catching 123 passes for 1,033 yards. Last season, he carried 221 times for 1,015 yards and six scores in 14 games.
One of Bradshaw’s most productive games in 2012 came against the Packers in late November. He carried 10 times for 58 yards and caught two passes for 61 more in New York’s 38-10 romp over Green Bay.
Yet over four regular-season games against the Packers, Bradshaw has averaged just 3.8 yards a carry and 31.8 rushing yards per game.
Green Bay could be interested in Bradshaw for more than just carrying the football, however.
An accomplished back in pass protection, Bradshaw finished 2012 with the highest pass-blocking grade among running backs at Pro Football Focus. He has been in the top-5 in that category in each of the last four seasons.
Given interest in Jackson and now Bradshaw, adding a running back appears to be a priority for Green Bay this offseason.
The bargain-shopping Packers were thought to be front-runners for Jackson, who ended up signing a three-year deal worth $12 million with the Falcons. Unrestricted free agent Cedric Benson is also a candidate to return in 2013.
Bradshaw, who is also drawing interest from the Pittsburgh Steelers, will have to come at the right price for GM Ted Thompson to seriously pursue. A one-year “prove it” deal makes sense for both team and player.
Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.