The clock is ticking on Victor Cruz’s tenure as a “restricted free agent,” and in just a few hours the odds of him being a Giant in 2013 are likely to go way up. Cruz, and all of the NFL’s RFAs, have until 11:59 p.m. on Friday night to solicit offer sheets from teams around the league. After midnight, Cruz’s only option is to return to the Giants, unless he’s willing to engage in a lengthy holdout and somehow forces a trade. That, according to most NFL sources familiar with his situation, seems highly unlikely – just as it seems highly unlikely Cruz will get an offer sheet from another team in the next few hours. Any team that signs him to an offer sheet would have to top the Giants’ offer to Cruz -- which sources told the Daily News is worth more than $7 million per year (and is believed to include $15-18 million in guaranteed money) – and be willing to surrender their first-round pick in next week’s draft, if the Giants choose not to match. Cruz was given the “first-round tender” by the Giants, which is worth $2.879 million. He has not yet signed that tender, but he can at any point. His agents are also talking to the Giants about a long-term contract extension, though it’s not clear where those talks currently stand. If Cruz doesn’t immediately sign his tender or get an extension, the next important deadline for him is June 17. At that point, the Giants are permitted by NFL rules to reduce the amount of his tender to 110 percent of his 2012 salary – or in his case to the NFL minimum for a three-year vet: $630,000. The next date to watch in this situation, though, is June 11. That’s the start of the Giants’ three-day, mandatory, full-team mini-camp. Cruz is not currently attending the Giants’ “voluntary” offseason workout program and has not spoken publicly about his intentions since Super Bowl week when he refused to rule out a holdout in an interview with the Daily News.
Time running out on Cruz's free agency
New York Daily News | Apr 21