I see there is some confusion in regards to Victor Cruz and his ability to seek out and field prospective offers from teams other than the Giants.
The UFA window for this is from March 12 through April 19. If no offer sheet is executed during that period, Cruz’ rights revert back to the Giants. But there is a new wrinkle.
Cruz switched agents on or about March 11th. Based on a long-standing NFL rule, Cruz would not be able to meet or talk with teams until three days after changing agents. That rule is supposedly in the new CBA (we couldn’t find it in either the CBA or on the NFLPA website) and if it is, we question whether it applies to RFAs.
If true, it means Cruz’ new rep (Tom Condon) is eligible to begin negotiating a new deal with the Giants beginning tomorrow. He will also be allowed to speak with other clubs regarding Cruz’ services.
Below are some answers that we could find in regards to free agency
What is the difference between a Restricted Free Agent and an Unrestricted Free Agent?
In the 2013 League Year, players with three Accrued Seasons become Restricted Free Agents when their contracts expire at the conclusion of the 2012 League Year.
Unrestricted Free Agents have completed four or more Accrued Seasons. An Unrestricted Free Agent is free to sign with any club with no draft choice compensation owed to his old club.
An Accrued Season is defined as six or more regular-season games on a club’s active/inactive, reserved/injured or reserve/physically unable to perform lists
What could restrict the ability of a Restricted Free Agent to sign with a new club?
If he has received a “qualifying offer” (a salary tender predetermined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and its players) from his old club. He can negotiate with any club through April 19. If the Restricted Free Agent signs an offer sheet with a new club, his old club can match the offer and retain him because the qualifying offer entitles it to a “right of first refusal” on any offer sheet the player signs. If the old club does not match the offer, it may receive draft choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer. If an offer sheet is not executed on or before April 19, the player’s negotiating rights revert exclusively to his old club. In addition, a player who would otherwise be a Restricted Free Agent may be designated by his old club as its Franchise Player or Transition Player. No Restricted Free Agents were designated as such this year.
What determines an Unrestricted Free Agent?
A player with four or more Accrued Seasons whose contract has expired. He is free to sign with any club, with no draft choice compensation owed to his old club, through July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later). At that point, his negotiating rights revert exclusively to his old club if by June 1 the old club tendered the player a one-year contract for 110 percent of his prior year’s salary. His old club then has until the Tuesday following the 10th week of the regular season (November 12) to sign him. If he does not sign by that date, he must sit out the season. If no tender is offered by June 1, the player can be signed by any club at any time throughout the season.
What is the time period for free agency signings this year?
For Restricted Free Agents, from March 12 to April 19.
For Unrestricted Free Agents who have received the June 1 tender from their prior club, from March 12 to July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later).
For Franchise Players, from March 12 until the Tuesday following the 10th week of the regular season, November 12. If a Franchise Player does not sign by November 12, he must sit out the season.