Even as the deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets with other teams approached, Giants general manager Jerry Reese was making no assumptions about the future of Victor Cruz.
The team’s top pass-catcher of 2012 – still unsigned to a one-year, first-round tender worth $2.879 million – remained absent from the team’s voluntary offseason conditioning program Thursday. Reese had no idea if he’d see the Pro Bowl standout during the program, training camp, or even into the season.
”I don’t assume anything,” Reese said. ”When we get ready to play, we’ll have good player. I don’t know if Victor will be on the team or not. If Victor’s not here, we’ll have other receivers. One player doesn’t make your team.”
Cruz caught 86 passes for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.
The Giants started voluntary the workouts Monday. New York placed the first-round tender on Cruz a little more than a month ago. It allowed the popular receiver to enter restricted free agency, but it also gave the Giants the right to match any offer he received.
If the Giants allow him to leave, they will get a first-round draft choice as compensation.
Cruz was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2010. The salsa-dancing University of Massachusetts player has 168 receptions for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns. He made the 2012 Pro Bowl and is considered one of the league’s best slot receivers.
Top wide receivers in unrestricted free agency can earn about $10 million annually.
The Giants (9-7) missed the playoffs despite a 6-2 start in 2012.