Analysis: Cruz signs RFA tender

June, 14, 2013
6/14/13
1:44
PM ET


Victor Cruz was in the Giants' building and he already has signed his first-round restricted free-agent tender worth $2.879 million, a source confirmed.

So now what? Cruz told ESPN's Josina Anderson earlier Friday morning that he still "will continue talks for a long-term deal before camp starts."

What it means: Did Cruz blink? The Giants had the option of reducing Cruz's tender to $630,000 on Monday. It was hard to envision this happening, though, knowing that the Giants could only add tension to negotiations by taking that route. Still, Cruz isn't taking any chances by signing his extension

Cruz gives himself some financial security while he continues to try to negotiate a more lucrative long-term deal. So if he were to get injured while working out or in training camp, he has some security.

But Cruz sacrifices some of the little leverage he had by signing the tender. If he opts to hold out of training camp now, Cruz can be fined -- $30,000 for each day missed -- because he is now under contract.

A good-faith gesture: This move by Cruz can also be one positive step toward reaching a bigger deal. In the past, the Giants have used their franchise tags on players such as Brandon Jacobs and Steve Weatherford as a step toward working out a longer deal.

While Cruz wasn't franchised, signing his RFA tender could just be the next step toward the bigger pay day. At least, surely, that is what Cruz is hoping for.

Cruz was never going to go anywhere else. His options were limited because it was either keep moving forward without any financial security while trying to work out a long-term deal, or sign the tender now and keep talking.

Cruz opted for the latter. Considering the good working history between Cruz's agent, Tom Condon, and the Giants, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Giants and Cruz eventually strike a deal later this summer that will make both sides happy sometime. If not, Cruz will play this season on his RFA tender and then become an unrestricted free agent next season.

Keep in mind that the Giants will likely budge only so much in negotiations, because they also have Hakeem Nicks entering the final year of his deal. The Giants want to keep both of their star receivers at the right price. And, more often than not, they usually stick to whatever number they have in mind for players (just ask Osi Umenyiora). If both receivers are unrestricted free agents next offseason, the Giants can use their franchise tag on one of them.

We'll see how it all plays out. For now, Cruz has signed his tender after months of staying away from team functions. It might not be the contract he wants. But at least he's signed before camp while both sides continue to negotiate.
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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