Mar 092016
 
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Victor Cruz, New York Giants (November 24, 2013)

Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

VICTOR CRUZ AND GIANTS AGREE TO RE-STRUCTURED CONTRACT…
Multiple media outlets are reporting that New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz has agreed to a re-structured contract. Cruz has three years left on his current contract and was scheduled to make $7.9 million in base salary in 2016 and count $9.9 million against the 2016 salary cap.

The Bergen Record is reporting that Cruz’s 2016 base salary will drop from $7.9 million to $1.3 million. The paper says playing-time incentives of up to $5.5 million plus production incentives could recoup the full value of the original $7.9 million. The NFL Network is reporting that the re-structured deal does not impact his original numbers in 2017 ($7.4 million salary) and 2018 ($8.4 million salary).

Cruz did not play in any preseason or regular-season games in 2015. Cruz was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2015 due to a left calf injury suffered in August that never healed and required surgery. It is the third leg injury that Cruz has suffered since signing his big 6-year contract in July 2013, including arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in 2013 and career-threatening patellar tendon surgery on his right knee in 2014.

“Once a Giant, always a Giant,” Cruz posted on Instagram Wednesday night. “See you in September.”

MARCH 9, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT NEWS AND RUMORS (PART IV)…
The official NFL free agency signing period began on Wednesday. Here is the latest news and rumors regarding the New York Giants:

  • The New York Giants had reportedly expressed interest in unrestricted free agent defensive end Derrick Shelby (Miami Dolphins), but he has signed with the Atlanta Falcons.
  • The New York Giants had reportedly expressed interest in unrestricted free agent defensive end Adrian Clayborn (Atlanta Falcons), but he has re-signed with the Falcons.

ARTICLES…

Mar 092016
 
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Olivier Vernon, Miami Dolphins (January 3, 2016)

Olivier Vernon – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS AGREE TO TERMS WITH OLIVIER VERNON…
Multiple media sources are reporting that the New York Giants have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent defensive end Olivier Vernon (Miami Dolphins). The contract is reportedly a 5-year, $85 million deal that includes $52.5 million in guaranteed money. The Jacksonville Jaguars were very much in play for his services as well.

The 25-year old Vernon was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Dolphins. In the last three seasons, he has played in every regular-season game with 46 starts, averaging 55 tackles and 8.5 sacks per year. Vernon is a very good two-way player who is disruptive against both the run and the pass. He can get heat on the quarterback from both the end and tackle positions, similar to Justin Tuck, and gets a lot of hits on the quarterback.

VICTOR CRUZ AND GIANTS WORKING ON NEW DEAL…
The Bergen Record is reporting that wide receiver Victor Cruz and the New York Giants are working on a re-structured contract that will keep him with the team in 2016. The Record’s source is optimistic the deal will be completed. Cruz is currently set to count $9.9 million against the team’s 2016 NFL cap. It has been speculated that if Cruz, who missed most of the last two seasons with serious leg injuries, does not accept a pay cut, he may be released from the Giants.

MARCH 9, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT NEWS AND RUMORS (PART III)…
March 9th marks the official beginning of free agency as teams can begin to sign free agents of other teams at 4:00 PM. Here is the latest:

  • New York Giants unrestricted free agent Robert Ayers is visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • The New York Giants had reportedly expressed interest in unrestricted free agents wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (Cincinnati Bengals), right tackle Mitchell Schwartz (Cleveland Browns), and right tackle Bobby Massie (Arizona Cardinals), but all three players signed with other teams.

JASON PIERRE-PAUL COMMENTS ON HIS RETURN TO THE GIANTS…
As previously reported, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has re-signed with the New York Giants. The contract was reportedly a 1-year, $10.5 million deal. Pierre-Paul suffered serious and permanent injuries to his right hand from a July 4th fireworks accident, including the amputation of his index finger and severe damage to his thumb and middle finger. He returned to the playing field halfway through the 2015 season, wearing a large club that made it impossible for him to grab and tackle with his right hand. Pierre-Paul started the eight games he played in and finished the season with 26 tackles, 1 sack, and 6 pass defenses.

“I have one year to prove myself, but all I need is one,” Pierre-Paul said. “I appreciate the Giants allowing me to come back and play here. But it was my decision. I have unfinished business. I know for a fact that I can play better than I did last year. My main goal is to get on the field this year without the club and play some good football. We’ll see from there.”

Pierre-Paul underwent additional surgery on his right hand after the season in the hopes that he can shed the club and wear a glove.

“It’s definitely going to help,” Pierre-Paul said of the surgery. “I’ll be able to grab. Now I’ll be able to open my hand up. My fingers are straight, and I’ll be fine. You’re limited with the club. I’d rather play with one finger than have a club on. Even with the club, even with my injury, I’m still the best at my position. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here. I think I played pretty well. With the club, people didn’t expect me to play the way I played. I played every down. It was just eight games – I was just getting started.

“I want to be a part of the turnaround. I want to bring my game to another level. With the injury I had, I want to show people that at the end of the day, no matter what happens, you can overcome it in life. I missed training camp (last offseason), I missed a lot of things. As much as I hate training camp, you need it. That’s two years that I missed training camp, one with my back surgery and another with my hand. Hopefully, this will be an injury-free season, and I’ll be out there playing great football.”

Mar 092016
 
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Damon Harrison, New York Jets (November 24, 2014)

Damon Harrison – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS AGREE TO TERMS WITH DAMON HARRISON…
Multiple media sources are reporting that the New York Giants have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Damon Harrison (New York Jets). The contract is reportedly 5-year, $46.25 million deal that  includes $24 million in guaranteed money and $30 million in the first three years of the contact.

The 27-year old Harrison was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jets after the 2012 NFL Draft. In the last three years, Harrison has started every regular-season game for the Jets. In 2015, he accrued 72 tackles and 0.5 sacks. The 6’4”, 350-pound Harrison is one of the NFL’s best run-stuffing nose tackles. He does not get much heat on the passer.

MARCH 9, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT NEWS AND RUMORS (PART II)…
March 9th marks the official beginning of free agency as teams can begin to sign free agents of other teams at 4:00 PM. Here is the latest:

  • The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars are the two most serious contenders for the services of unrestricted free agent defensive end Olivier Vernon (Miami Dolphins). The 25-year old Vernon was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Dolphins. In the last three seasons, he has played in every regular-season game with 46 starts, averaging 55 tackles and 8.5 sacks per year.
  • The New York Daily News and BleacherReport.com are reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (Cincinnati Bengals). However, Sanu is first meeting with the Falcons on Wednesday night. The 26-year old Sanu was selected in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Bengals. In four seasons, Sanu has played in 57 regular-season games with 34 starts (27 of those coming in 2013-2014). Last season, he started four games and finished the year with 33 catches for 394 yards and no touchdowns.
  • ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent right tackle Bobby Massie (Arizona Cardinals). The 26-year old Massie was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Cardinals. The athletic, 6’6”, 316-pound Massie started all 30 regular-season games he played in the last two years. Massie was suspended for the first two games of the 2015 season for violating the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse (alcohol – DUI).
  • The Giants had reportedly expressed interest in unrestricted free agents safety Rodney McCloud (Los Angeles Rams), safety George Iloka (Cincinnati Bengals), defensive end Williams Hayes (Los Angeles Rams), and offensive guard Mike Harris (Minnesota Vikings). But all either re-signed with their respective teams or another team.

JASON PIERRE-PAUL CONTRACT DETAILS…
USA Today is reporting that the 1-year, $10.5 million contract that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul signed with the New York Giants includes:

  • Total possible value: $10.5 million
  • Guaranteed money: $8.5 million
  • Base salary: $4.25 million (fully guaranteed)
  • Signing bonus: $4.25 million (fully guaranteed)
  • Per-game roster bonuses: $1.2 million
  • Workout bonus: $300,000
  • Incentives: Up to $500,000 (based on sacks)

JANORIS JENKINS CONTRACT DETAILS…
National Football Post is reporting that the contract cornerback Janoris Jenkins signed with the New York Giants is a 5-year, $62.5 million deal that includes $28.8 million and a $10 million signing bonus.

LARRY DONNELL MEDICALLY CLEARED…
According to his agent, New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell has received full medical clearance to resume football activities. However, The New York Post reports that the Giants have not seen the results of those medical tests yet.

Donnell was placed on Injured Reserve in December 2015 with a neck injury. After a breakout season in 2014, Donnell had a disappointing 2015 campaign as his production dropped from 63 catches for 623 yards and six touchdowns to 29 catches for 223 yards and two touchdowns. He started all eight games in which he played in 2015.

ARTICLES…

Mar 092016
 
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Janoris Jenkins, St. Louis Rams (November 15, 2015)

Janoris Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS AGREE TO TERMS WITH JANORIS JENKINS…
According to multiple media reports, the New York Giants have agree to terms with unrestricted free agent cornerback Janoris Jenkins (Los Angeles Rams). Early reports indicate that the deal could be worth as much or more than $70 million and average $12 million per year or more. The Rams were very interested in re-signing Jenkins and he was being heavily pursued by the Raiders and other teams.

The 27-year old Jenkins was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Rams. In his four seasons with the Rams, Jenkins played in 60 regular-season games with 58 starts. He has 49 career pass breakups and 10 interceptions, five of which he has returned for touchdowns. Jenkins is an average-sized corner with excellent speed and quickness. He is an instinctive coverman who has gotten better each year. Jenkins plays well in both man and zone coverage. Jenkins makes plays on the football, but is known as a bit of a gambler and will also give up the big play. He is not a physical run defender or strong tackler. Jenkins plays with a cocky swagger, but there are also some character concerns, including a drug charge in college.

MARCH 9, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT NEWS AND RUMORS…
March 9th marks the official beginning of free agency as teams can begin to sign free agents of other teams at 4:00 PM. Here is the latest:

  • Multiple media sources are reporting that the New York Giants are interested in unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Damon Harrison (New York Jets). The 27-year old Harrison was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jets after the 2012 NFL Draft. In the last three years, Harrison has started every regular-season game for the Jets. In 2015, he accrued 72 tackles and 0.5 sacks. The 6’4”, 350-pound Harrison is one of the NFL’s best run-stuffing nose tackles. He does not get much heat on the passer.
  • NJ.com reports that unrestricted free agent defensive end Olivier Vernon (Miami Dolphins) is now the top free agent priority for the New York Giants. The Dolphins removed their transition tag from Vernon on Wednesday, making him free to sign with any team without the right to match an offer. The cash-rich Jacksonville Jaguars are said to be very interested in Vernon. The 25-year old Vernon was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Dolphins. In the last three seasons, he has played in every regular-season game with 46 starts, averaging 55 tackles and 8.5 sacks per year.
  • NJ.com is reporting that the New York Giants had interest in unrestricted free agent wide receiver Marvin Jones (Cincinnati Bengals). However, Jones is signing with the Detroit Lions. The 25-year old Jones was drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Bengals. Jones played in 16 regular-season games with 13 starts in 2015 and finished the year with 65 catches for 816 yards and four touchdowns.
  • The New York Daily News reports that the New York Giants had expressed interest in unrestricted free agent cornerback Sean Smith (Kansas City Chiefs). The 28-year old Smith has played for both the Dolphins (2009-2012) and Chiefs (2013-2015). Last season, he started all 13 games he played in and accrued 45 tackles, 12 pass defenses, and two interceptions. The signing of Janoris Jenkins may now mean the Giants are no longer interested.
  • Free agent defensive end Charles Johnson, who met with the New York Giants on Sunday and Monday, is re-signing with the Carolina Panthers. The contract is reportedly a 1-year, $3 million deal. He supposedly turned down $6 million from other teams. Johnson said he almost signed with the Giants. “I came pretty close, but ultimately my heart is in Carolina,” said Johnson. “It’s not about the money. Carolina is home and I wouldn’t have been happy if I went somewhere else. The Giants are a first class organization, but now I have one more year to get back where I want to be, at home.”
  • Despite initial reports of mutual interest and a possible visit, free agent defensive end Mario Williams signed a 2-year contract with the Miami Dolphins.

GIANTS RE-SIGN SAFETY BENNETT JACKSON…
According to the NFL Player Associations website, New York Giants exclusive rights free agent safety/cornerback Bennett Jackson has signed his 1-year, $450,000 tender.

Jackson was placed on Injured Reserve before the season started in September 2015 after tearing the ACL in his right knee in the second preseason game. The Giants drafted Jackson in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. During his rookie season, he was waived, signed to the Practice Squad, and then placed on the Practice Squad/Injured List with cartilage damage to his left knee injury that required microfracture surgery. Jackson converted to cornerback from wide receiver at Notre Dame. The Giants shifted him to safety during the 2015 offseason. Jackson is a bit of a corner/safety ‘tweener. While he he has good speed and coverage skills for a safety, he lacks ideal size and physicality for the position. Before he was injured, Jackson was receiving first team reps at safety and as the team’s nickel corner.

ARTICLES…

Mar 082016
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (December 6, 2015)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN DE JASON PIERRE-PAUL…
The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants have re-signed unrestricted free agent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to a 1-year contract. The NFL Network says Pierre-Paul turned down more money from other teams to remain with the Giants. ESPN.com reports that the contract could be worth “up to” $10.5 million and that the Arizona Cardinals made a strong effort to sign Pierre-Paul. The New York Daily News speculates that the contract will be laden with incentives such as sacks and playing time.

Pierre-Paul suffered serious and permanent injuries to his right hand from a July 4th fireworks accident, including the amputation of his index finger and severe damage to his thumb and middle finger. He returned to the playing field halfway through the 2015 season, wearing a large club that made it impossible for him to grab and tackle with his right hand. Pierre-Paul started the eight games he played in and finished the season with 26 tackles, 1 sack, and 6 pass defenses.

Pierre-Paul had additional offseason surgery in an effort to improve the grip on his damaged hand and hopefully allow him to play without a club.

MARCH 8, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT RUMORS…
While players can not officially sign until March 9th, Monday unofficially marked the beginning of free agency as teams can now negotiate with free agents of other teams. Here is the latest:

  • FOXSports.com is reporting that the New York Jets have expressed interest in New York Giants unrestricted free agent cornerback Prince Amukamara.
  • ESPN is reporting that free agent defensive end Charles Johnson, who met with the New York Giants on Sunday and Monday, left without a contract and met with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday.
  • NJ.com is reporting that despite reports of mutual interest and a possible visit, free agent defensive end Mario Williams is “not in play for the Giants at this time.” According to multiple reports, Williams is close to signing with the Miami Dolphins.
  • ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants are “weighing the idea” of making a contract offer to transition-tagged free agent Olivier Vernon (Miami Dolphins).
  • ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in the following unrestricted free agents: defensive end Williams Hayes (Los Angeles Rams), defensive end Derrick Shelby (Miami Dolphins), defensive end Adrian Clayborn (Atlanta Falcons), cornerback Patrick Robinson (San Diego Chargers), and safety Rodney McCloud (Los Angeles Rams).

Mar 072016
 
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George Iloka, Cincinnati Bengals (September 20, 2015)

George Iloka – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MARCH 7, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT RUMORS…
While players can not officially sign until March 9th, Monday unofficially marked the beginning of free agency as teams can now negotiate with free agents of other teams. Here is the latest:

  • ESPN is reporting that free agent defensive end Charles Johnson, who was recently cut by the Carolina Panthers in a salary cap-related move, met with the New York Giants on Sunday and Monday. If the Giants and Johnson do not agree on a contract, he is reportedly scheduled to meet with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next. From 2010-2014, Johnson averaged 43 tackles and 10.5 sacks per year. Those numbers plummeted in 2015 when Johnson missed seven regular-season games with a hamstring injury and finished the year with 12 tackles and one sack. He had an excellent game in the Super Bowl with five tackles, one sack, and a forced fumble. Overall, Johnson accrued nine tackles, three sacks, and two forced fumbles in three post-season games last season.
  • Following up on yesterday’s update, there is no new information on free agent defensive end Mario Williams visiting the Giants. BleacherReport.com is reporting that the Giants, Dolphins, and Jaguars are interested in Williams, who supposedly is seeking a $10 million-per-year contract. The 31-year old Williams was recently released by the Bills. Miscast in a 3-4 defense, Williams started 15 games for the Bills in 2015 and finished the season with just 19 tackles and five sacks. From 2012-2014, Williams averaged 34 tackles and 13 sacks per season. He is a four-time Pro Bowler (2008, 2009, 2013, 2014) and was first-team All Pro in 2014.
  • The New York Daily News is reporting that the New York Giants are interested in Atlanta Falcons unrestricted free agent defensive end Adrian Clayborn. Several other teams are also said to be interested in Clayborn, who was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He missed most of the 2012 season with a knee injury and most of the 2014 season with a biceps injury. The Falcons signed Clayborn as a free agent in 2015. Last season, he played in all 16 regular-season games with four starts, finishing the year with 15 tackles and three sacks.
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that the New York Giants are one of several teams interested in Cincinnati Bengals unrestricted free agent safety George Iloka. The 25-year old Iloka was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He has started all 44 regular-season games he played in the last three seasons, including 12 games in 2015 where he accrued 47 tackles and one interception.
  • The Cleveland Plains Dealer is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in Cleveland Browns unrestricted free agent Mitchell Schwartz, the brother of recently-waived guard Geoff Schwartz. The 26-year old Schwartz was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Browns. He has started every game during his first four years in the NFL.
  • The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in Minnesota Vikings unrestricted free agent offensive guard Mike Harris. The 27-year old Harris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the San Diego Chargers after the 2012 NFL Draft. He started all 16 regular-season games for the Vikings in 2015.
  • A media report out of Arizona says the Cardinals are interested in signing New York Giants unrestricted free agent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
  • BleacherReport.com is reporting that New York Giants unrestricted free agent defensive end Robert Ayers is seeking a $10 million-per-year contract.

GIANTS AND VICTOR CRUZ TALK RESTRUCTURING…
ESPN.com is reporting that the New York Giants had discussions last week with the representatives for wide receiver Victor Cruz about restructuring his contract. Cruz is currently set to count $9.9 million against the team’s 2016 NFL cap, the second most by a player after quarterback Eli Manning. It has been speculated that if Cruz does not accept a pay cut, he may be released from the Giants. Cruz recently said that he believed there was an “80 percent” chance he would return to Giants.

Cruz did not play in any preseason or regular-season games in 2015. Cruz was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2015 due to a left calf injury suffered in August that never healed and required surgery. It is the third leg injury that Cruz has suffered since signing his big 6-year contract in July 2013, including arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in 2013 and career-threatening patellar tendon surgery on his right knee in 2014.

ARTICLES…

Mar 062016
 
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Mario Williams, Buffalo Bills (September 27, 2015)

Mario Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

REPORT – DE MARIO WILLIAMS VISITING THE GIANTS…
NFL.com is reporting that free agent defensive end Mario Williams is visiting the New York Giants after his visit on Saturday with the Miami Dolphins. The 31-year old Williams was released by the Bills recently. Williams will meet with the Giants on Sunday night and Monday.

Miscast in a 3-4 defense, Williams started 15 games for the Bills in 2015 and finished the season with just 19 tackles and five sacks. From 2012-2014, Williams averaged 34 tackles and 13 sacks per season. He is a four-time Pro Bowler (2008, 2009, 2013, 2014) and was first-team All Pro in 2014.

Late Update: NFL.com is now reporting that the visit has not been scheduled yet.

ARTICLES…

Mar 052016
 
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Charles Johnson, Carolina Panthers (December 27, 2015)

Charles Johnson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

REPORT – DE CHARLES JOHNSON TO VISIT GIANTS ON SUNDAY…
ESPN.com is reporting that free agent defensive end Charles Johnson will visit the New York Giants on Sunday. The 29-year old Johnson was released by the Carolina Panthers on March 3rd in a salary cap-related move.

Johnson was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Panthers. In his nine seasons with the Panthers, Johnson has played in 118 regular-season games with with 90 starts. From 2010-2014, he averaged 43 tackles and 10.5 sacks per year. Those numbers plummeted in 2015 when Johnson missed seven regular-season games with a hamstring injury and finished the year with 12 tackles and one sack. He had an excellent game in the Super Bowl with five tackles, one sack, and a forced fumble. Overall, Johnson accrued nine tackles, three sacks, and two forced fumbles in three post-season games last season.

When healthy, Johnson is a very solid left defensive end who can play the run and rush the passer. He was also a team captain and locker room leader. Before 2015, Johnson only missed three regular-season games in the previous five seasons.

“Charles has had a very good career as a Carolina Panther and I’ve enjoyed coaching him the past five seasons,” Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera said when Johnson was released. “Charles fought through adversity with his injury last season and set a great example for our locker room as a captain. I have a great deal of respect for Charles as a player and a person and thank him for all the contributions he has made to this team.”

Mar 052016
 
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Mario Williams, Buffalo Bills (October 25, 2015)

Mario Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

REPORT – GIANTS EXPRESS INTEREST IN DE MARIO WILLIAMS…
The New York Daily News is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in free agent defensive Mario Williams, who was recently released by the Buffalo Bills. However, the 31-year old Williams was scheduled to meet with the Miami Dolphins on Saturday and has reportedly received interest from a number of teams.

Playing in a 3-4 defense, Williams started 15 games for the Bills in 2015 and finished the season with 19 tackles and five sacks.

ARTICLES…

Mar 042016
 
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Will Tye, New York Giants (January 3, 2016)

Will Tye – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS TENDER SEVEN EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS…
The New York Daily News is reporting that the New York Giants have tendered seven of the eight players on their roster who were eligible to be tendered as exclusive rights free agents. The players tendered cannot sign with any team other than the Giants, thus guaranteeing their return unless the tender is revoked. The seven players are:

  • RB Orleans Darkwa
  • WR Myles White
  • TE Will Tye
  • TE Jerome Cunningham
  • OG Adam Gettis
  • S Bennett Jackson
  • P Brad Wing

The player not tendered was wide receiver Marcus Harris. Scouting reports on these players are available in the Scouting Reports section of the website.

VICTOR CRUZ STARTS RUNNING…
New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz revealed on Thursday that he has begun running as part of his rehab process recovering from calf surgery. Cruz did not play in any preseason or regular-season games in 2015. Cruz was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2015 due to a left calf injury suffered in August that never healed and required surgery. It is the third leg injury that Cruz has suffered since signing his big 6-year contract in July 2013, including arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in 2013 and career-threatening patellar tendon surgery on his right knee in 2014.

“I’ve been making a lot of progress,” Cruz said in a BleacherReport.com video. “The calf is feeling really, really good. I’m excited about the progress, I’m excited for what’s to come… I have a long journey ahead of me. I’m pretty much starting from scratch, building my legs up from scratch, which is what I want to do. Making sure they’re stronger than they were and they stay that way. No more setbacks.”

Cruz is currently set to count $9.9 million against the team’s 2016 NFL cap, the second most by a player after quarterback Eli Manning. It has been speculated that if Cruz does not accept a pay cut, he may be released from the Giants. Cruz recently said that he believed there was an “80 percent” chance he would return to Giants.

“I really feel like it’s paying dividends. The strength in my calf is starting to come back,” said Cruz. “Everything’s starting to come around. I’m excited to go out there with my teammates again. I’m excited to see Odell and those guys, I’m excited to play again. But I know I have a long journey ahead of me. I have some significant gains to make in terms of where I’m at with my calf, and things like that. I’m excited.”

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