Victor Cruz – Photo by USA Today Sports Images
Giants Tender Cruz and the Two Browns: As expected, the Giants tendered restricted free agent WR Victor Cruz at the first-round tender level ($2.879 million) yesterday. The team also tendered restricted free agents HB Andre Brown and S Stevie Brown at the second-round tender level ($2.023 million). And while the Giants did not tender HB Ryan Torain, Giants’ President/CEO John Mara said the Giants would like to re-sign him.
According to press reports, the three tenders leave the Giants with approximately $1.5 million in cap space under the $123 million cap.
Cruz, Brown, and Brown are free to sign an offer sheet with any other team starting at 4PM today. The Giants then have one week to decide whether or not to match that offer. If they do not, the Giants lose the player but gain the draft pick (first rounder for Cruz and second rounder for the two Browns).
Mara said he would not be surprised if Cruz receives an offer sheet from another team.
“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,” said Mara. “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.”
Mara indicated that Cruz has turned down “a very substantial” offer from the Giants. “I’m not going to get into dollars,” Mara said. “I don’t want to characterize (the difference). Let’s just say if he took our offer, he’d be a very wealthy young man.”
“Certainly we have the wherewithal to match just about any offer,” said Mara. “It’s just a question of whether we want to do it and what the number is going to be. 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 to have Victor back. He’s been a great player.
“At some point, if somebody’s willing to pay more than we’re willing to pay, then we’ll have to say goodbye.
“I think Victor is smart enough to realize that he belongs in this area. I think he’s done very well for himself off the field. He’s a very popular player here. He’s had a lot of off the field opportunities. So hopefully all those other things will enter into his consideration.
“You can’t worry about the player’s popularity, because at the end of the day, the fans want to win. They want you to build an organization that’s going to be in contention every year, and if you overpay for players, it’s going to hurt you in other areas. Listen, I’ll say it again: He’s been a great player for us, we’d love to have him back. But you have to place a value on these contracts, and we have, and hopefully at some point we’ll be able to reach an agreement.
“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.”
Because of the tender moves, we have updated the 2013 Free Agent Scorecard.
Cruz Changes Agents: USA Today reported yesterday that restricted free agent WR Victor Cruz is in the process of changing agents. His new agent will be Tom Condon, who has a long history of working with the Giants. Some of Condon’s current clients include QB Eli Manning, DE/LB Mathias Kiwanuka, LB Mark Herzlich, and DE Osi Umenyiora.
DT Cullen Jenkins Officially Signs His Deal: DT Cullen Jenkins, who was waived by the Philadelphia Eagles last month, officially signed his new 3-year contract with the Giants yesterday.
“I’m excited,” said Jenkins. “It’s been a tough two weeks, going through so many different things mentally, with my family and traveling so much – trying to figure out which was the best scenario. I’m glad that it’s over and especially with the Giants. This was my first visit and I had a good feeling here, especially talking with the coaches. Everybody was straight up, straight forward with me. I had a good gut feeling about New York.”
“We are very pleased to add a player of Cullen’s caliber to our defensive line,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “He brings the physical nature that we like and also gives us a lot of flexibility up front.”
“We’re very excited to have him here,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He has earned the respect of our players, having played against us when he was in Green Bay and against us when he was in Philadelphia. He’s a very versatile performer. He can play inside and outside. The challenge first and foremost is to stop the run and he’s well aware of that – I’ve spoken to him about it. He also demonstrated outstanding pass rush ability, whether you play him inside or outside. He’s a very versatile player that can play in all circumstances and situations. He’s athletic, he’s quick, he’s powerful, he plays with good effort. We’re looking forward to having him in a Giant uniform.”
“He was one of the highest players we had rated from our pro personnel people to our coaches,” said Giants’ President/CEO John Mara. “And as I understand it even Chris Snee was very much in favor of the signing because he’s been a tough opponent over the years. He’ll give us a certain toughness on the defensive line.”
“You’re talking about a guy who brings a lot of diversity to the D-line, because he can play pretty much anywhere along the line,” said DE Justin Tuck. “It gives us the opportunity to continue to give teams different looks. He’s a big, strong, athletic guy who knows the ropes and knows what it takes to be successful in this league.”
“I had the opportunity to talk to him and he’s hungry and wants to get back to the top of his game and with his team, as well,” said Tuck. “After losing Chris, we knew we had to step up and fill that void and I think we did. With the loss of Chris, who was very successful in our scheme, helped us win a championship and played very well for us, obviously, that’s a huge hole to fill. Like always, Jerry Reese goes out and he scouts players and he knows what the best fit for our team is. He found another good fit for us and hopefully we’ll win another Super Bowl like we did with the other D-tackles he brought in.”
“I look at it as a big challenge, because you see the level of play that they play with, especially being in Philadelphia the last two years,” said Jenkins. “You see the intensity they play with, the skill – I look at it as a challenge to come in and help them out and be a part of it – not just hide behind, but help them out in any way I can and help the line and the whole defense to be better.”
“Especially in this market, where they’re not going to settle for anything less,” Jenkins said. “They had a taste of it two times in five years and the fans expect it. It’s not going to come just because you have a team with good players. It has to be something you earn. It’s going to take a lot of work, especially on my part, to come in and make sure I’m fitting in with the team. I have to be willing to do whatever they ask of me and help out the best I can.”
A video of a Giants.com interview with Jenkins is available at Giants.com.
Giants Have Not Asked Eli to Re-Structure Contract: Giants’ President/CEO said yesterday they have not asked QB Eli Manning to re-structure his contract in order to create more immediate cap space. According to The Daily News, Manning counts $20.85 million against the $123 million cap in 2013.
“We haven’t really talked about that,” said Mara. “That’s always an option at some point in time, but he’s proven to be worth the amount of salary-cap space that’s been allocated to him. That’s something you could always do at some point to create more room. But again, the more room you create in current years, you have to pay that back at some point in time, and you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you are in salary-cap jail and you’re forced to cut an inordinate number of players. That’s something that may be discussed at some point in the future, but that’s not on our radar right now.”
Giants Reportedly Interested in DE/DT Jason Jones: According to NFL.com, the Giants are one of four teams interested in unrestricted free agent DE/DT Jason Jones (Seattle Seahawks). The other teams are supposedly the Lions, Browns, and Chiefs.
Articles on the Giants and Free Agency:
- A Look at the Giants’ Pending Free Agents by Ralph Vacchiano of The Daily News
- How Giants Look at Free Agency by Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger
New Book by Tom Coughlin in the BBI Store: A new book by Tom Coughlin, Earn the Right to Win, is now available in the BBI Store (Amazon.com).