The deadline for restricted free agents to sign an offer sheet with another NFL team expired at 11:59:59 p.m. ET on Friday night and, as expected, New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz did not receive one from another club and will play for the Giants in 2013.
Barring a long-term extension, Cruz will earn $2.879 million in non-guaranteed base salary in 2013.
Cruz is among eight restricted free agents who has yet to sign his one-year tender and could skip the team's offseason program, which got underway on April 15 and concludes with a mandatory minicamp on June 13. Since Cruz does not have a signed contract, he would not be required to attend that minicamp. If Cruz does not sign his tender by June 17, the Giants could reduce the amount to 110 percent of his previous years' salary, or $594,000, a $2.285 million reduction.
In addition to Cruz, the other NFL restricted free agents who have not signed their one-year tenders are Baltimore Ravens tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, Denver Broncos punter Britton Colquitt, Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields, Giants running back Andre Brown, San Diego Chargers wide receiver Danario Alexander and Tennessee Titans center Fernando Velasco.
Pitta, Shields, Brown and Velasco received "Second Round" tenders worth $2.023 million in non-guaranteed base salaries. Dickson, Colquitt and Alexander were tendered at "Original Round" or "Right of First Refusal" levels that include a $1.323 million non-guaranteed base salary. Those players could see their one-year tender amounts reduced to 110 percent their previous years' salary if they do not sign by June 17.
Overall, 37 restricted free agents received tenders from 22 teams and only one — Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders — received an offer sheet from an NFL team. Sanders was tendered at the "Original Round" level, which carried a $1.323 million base salary for the 2010 third-round pick out of SMU. The New England Patriots risked parting with a third-round pick (No. 91 overall) when they signed Sanders to a one-year, $2.5 million contract that included no guaranteed money, but after losing Mike Wallace in the unrestricted free agent market, the Steelers elected to match the offer and keep Sanders for at least one more season.
Of the 29 restricted free agents who have re-signed, only Sanders and Steelers defensive lineman Steve McLendon have contracts worth more than their tender amounts. Not surprisingly, both teams received interest from teams with ample amounts of salary cap room. Unlike Sanders, McLendon actually received some guaranteed money as part of his new contract with the Steelers.
According to a source with knowledge of McLendon's contract details, the undrafted free agent out of Troy received a $1.675 million signing bonus, which is the only guaranteed portion of the deal, and a non-guaranteed base salary of $900,000 to bring his 2013 cash compensation total to $2.575 million, a nice increase over his $1.323 million non-guaranteed base salary under the tender. McLendon has base salaries of $2.425 million in 2014 and $2.25 million in 2015 to complete the deal.
Two restricted free agents that have re-signed with the teams took less money in exchange for a little guaranteed money.
St. Louis Rams safety Darian Stewart was scheduled to receive $1.323 million on his one-year "Right of First Refusal" tender. On April 3, Stewart signed a one-year, $1 million contract that is comprised of a $300,000 signing bonus and a non-guaranteed base salary of $700,000. Detroit Lions defensive end Willie Young had received a "Second Round" tender worth $2.023 million, but he opted to lower his one-year deal to $1.5 million in exchange for a $300,000 signing bonus. Young is scheduled to earn $1.2 million in non-guaranteed base salary in 2013.