This week's Hot Button debate was about which potential free-agent running back is the most important for his team to re-sign. John Clayton picked the Bengals' Cedric Benson. Matt Williamson went with the Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw:
Bradshaw, a 25-year-old spark plug, does it all. He's a very physical ball carrier. He lacks Benson's bulk and ability to wear down a defense, but Bradshaw is an exceptional short-yardage runner who inflicts plenty of punishment. He is an extremely competitive runner and a handful to get to the ground. But that is just a part of what he brings. He is also very effective outside the tackles and shows excellent elusiveness in space.
Matt really likes Bradshaw. Later in the piece, he says the Giants running back "might just be the best in all of football" at pass blocking. That's high praise, and it helps make Williamson's point that, while someone like DeAngelo Williams might be a better running back, the Giants would suffer for losing Bradshaw and replacing him with someone outside the organization. He knows their system. He knows what it's like to play under the pressure that the New York market brings. He does things for them that they don't know if another running back could or would even be willing to do.
This is why I agree with Matt that Bradshaw is the most important re-sign of any of the potential free-agent running backs -- maybe of any potential free agent at all. If he leaves, the Giants' entire offseason plan would have to be re-tooled around the re-tooling of the running game. And if they're only going to have five days to figure this all out, they don't need anybody throwing a wrench of that magnitude into the works.