New York Giants president John Mara spoke to the media today, and among the things that he talked about today was the tendering of some of the team’s key restricted free agent players, in particular safety Stevie Brown, running back Andre Brown, and especially wide receiver Victor Cruz.
The two Browns were tenders at the second round level, meaning that any team wishing to sign these players would have to not only work out a contract with them, but also forfeit a second round pick to do so. In addition, the Giants would have the option of matching any contract sheet their free agent is offered.
Such restricted free agent tenders are generally enough of a deterrence for other teams to avoid touching these players. In fact, it is very rare that a restricted free agent that was tendered moved on to another team.
But Victor Cruz is not an ordinary restricted free agent. Cruz, who was tendered at the first round level, is an All-Pro player who is entering the prime of his career, and whoever misses out on the Mike Wallace sweepstakes may find their eyes glancing toward Cruz, a former undrafted free agent that possesses first round talent.
The Minnesota Vikings could be an ideal candidate. They just traded wide receiver Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks, and part of that deal included a first round pick. With the Dolphins set to go hard at Wallace, the Vikings could use one of their first round picks to attempt to sign Cruz.
It is no surprise, then, that Mara expressed his concern today over the potentiality of losing Cruz, even though so few restricted free agents ever move. Although the Giants have already offered Cruz a contract that would, in Mara’s words, make him “a very wealthy young man”, Cruz and his representatives would like to test his market:
Listen, he’s been a great player for us. Like we do with all of our players, there’s a limit as to how far we’re going to go on a contract. You have to pay 53 and if the money goes over that limit, we have to make a decision.
But we feel we’re in a good position now. We’ve tendered him. If somebody wants to make him an offer, we’ll evaluate whether it makes sense for us. My hope is he’s a Giant for many years.
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