As Victor Cruz continues to wait for a long-term contract the New York Giants have done as expected, placing the first-round tender on the restricted free agent.
The question now is whether or not another club will come along and offer the deal to Cruz he has been seeking. Compensation would have to come in the way of a first-round draft pick and the deal would have to be structured such that the Giants would decline to match it.
Many believe NFL teams have an unwritten rule amongst themselves that they will not actively pursue RFA’s of other teams. But it does happen on rare occasions and Cruz is a difference maker that could be a huge upgrade for any team in need of a playmaker in the passing game.
The first-round tender is worth $2.879 million and Giants co-owner John Mara announced the news earlier today, according to Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star-Ledger. The Giants also placed second-round tenders worth $2.02 million on running back Andre Brown and safety Stevie Brown.
Mara admitted there was risk involved in allowing Cruz to shop around as an RFA.
“Certainly, we’re taking a risk, but we would still have to right to match and if we decided not to do that, we’re getting a first-round draft pick out of it," Mara said, according to Vrentas. "So yeah, it is a risk for us, and he is an exciting, dynamic player. It’s not going to shock me if somebody makes him an offer."
Certainly the Minnesota Vikings would make sense for Cruz after they traded away Percy Harvin today. Minnesota has two first-round draft picks.
Mara said the Giants have given Cruz a good offer.
“I'm not going to get into dollars," he said. "I don't want to characterize (the gap). Let's just say if he took our offer, he'd be a very wealthy young man.”
Mara also added he would not be surprised if another team made a bid for Cruz.
“Certainly we have the wherewithal to match just about any offer. It's just a question of whether we want to do it and what the number is going to be," Mara said. "We've made him a very substantial offer but his agent feels like he wants to test the market a little bit and that's his right to do that. Again, we'd love ti have Victor back. He's been a great player."
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune