Sunday, March 17, 2013
Updated: March 18, 7:22 PM ET
Giants want to keep Victor Cruz
By Ohm Youngmisuk
New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said Sunday he believes it's "probable" another team will make an offer for restricted free agent Victor Cruz.
The Giants, however, don't have to worry about the Indianapolis Colts making a play for the salsa-dancing receiver. Owner Jim Irsay told reporters that the Colts are not targeting Cruz after Irsay posted cryptic tweets this weekend about his team being "very, very close" to making a deal for a wide receiver.
"It's not Cruz, no," Irsay said Sunday night at the NFL owners meetings.
The Giants couldn't strike a long-term extension with Cruz before free agency began. The team protected itself by tendering the wide receiver with a first-round RFA tender, which gives the Giants the right of refusal in case any team makes Cruz a lucrative offer.
If the Giants refuse to match a potential offer, they will receive a first-round pick as compensation. That means any team looking to land Cruz has to be willing to sign him to a lucrative contract and part with a first-round pick.
Giants co-owner John Mara admitted the team was taking a "risk" when it tendered Cruz. The market for the receiver, though, appears to have shrunk this past week after the New England Patriots signed Danny Amendola and the Minnesota Vikings added Greg Jennings.
The St. Louis Rams and Vikings, two teams with multiple first-round picks, are not targeting Cruz, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter this weekend.
Tisch said he is "anxious" about the Cruz situation, according to the New York Post. After seeing Wes Welker (Denver Broncos) and Amendola sign free-agent contracts worth an average of $6 million per year, Tisch said Cruz will command more than that.
"I think Victor is going to get higher than that," Tisch said, according to Newsday. "We're going to go as far as we can go to keep him on the team."
Cruz is in the process of switching to agent Tom Condon. Tisch and Mara have expressed optimism that the agent change will help negotiations and keep Cruz in a Giants uniform for a long time.
Condon has a good relationship with the organization and also represents Eli Manning, Mathias Kiwanuka, Mark Herzlich and Osi Umenyiora (who signed with Condon last year).
This offseason, the Giants want to extend the contracts of wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Cruz, re-sign free agent left guard Kevin Boothe and add a few more pieces at reasonable prices. After signing tight end Brandon Myers, linebacker Dan Connor and wide receiver Louis Murphy this weekend, the Giants still have some cap maneuvering to do to create a little more space.
Tisch intimated to reporters that the team is trying to work with offensive lineman David Diehl to alter his contract and potentially free up more cap space. Diehl is entering the final year of his deal with a base salary of $4.475 million.
"I think he's an asset," Tisch said of Diehl.
Cornerback Corey Webster, who also was entering the final year of his deal, recently agreed to take a pay cut that cleared space.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was used in this report.