The RFA signing window closed last night at midnight, meaning restricted free agents can now only negotiate with their former teams.
The Giants have two such players in this category: RB Andre Brown and WR Victor Cruz. Brown was assigned a second-round tender (one year, $2.023 million) but has not signed a contract, most likely because he recently changed his agent (to Drew Rosenhaus). He has been working out at TPC, however, signing a waiver in order to participate.
Cruz was the only RFA in the NFL this year assigned a first round tender (one year, $2.879 million). He has not signed his tender nor has he attended any workouts this week.
That may change now that no outside team made Cruz an offer during the signing period, leaving him with few options – the majority of them pointing to him playing for the Giants in 2013.
From Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News:
Theoretically he still could try to force the Giants’ hand with a lengthy holdout, possibly pushing them to trade him, but sources on both sides indicated that would probably not happen. More likely, the 26-year-old Cruz will either soon sign his one-year tender, and play for a $2.879 million salary in 2013, or continue to try to work out a long-term contract with the Giants.
Another scenario (albeit an unlikely one) would be that the Giants withdraw Cruz’ tender on June 17th.
From Mike Florio of PFT:
The next pressure point comes on June 17, when the Giants can withdraw the $2.89 million tender and replace it with a 10-percent raise above his 2012 salary of $540,000. Last year, the Steelers opted not to do that with receiver Mike Wallace.
That would basically seal Cruz’ departure via unrestricted free agency next March. If he is holding out at that time, it may also force him to sit out the entire season. Let’s hope it does not come down to that….