At 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Giants receiver Victor Cruz secures the ability to negotiate with any other team in the league.
But since he’s a restricted free agent, subject to the machinations of a seven-day period for matching any offers received, it’s not likely that anyone will make an early run at Cruz.
The teams with cap money to spend will be trying to spend it on unrestricted free agents, for now. Typically, the RFA market begins to heat up only after the UFA carousel has begun to slow down.
In recent years, the RFA market has been dormant, with teams neither willing to negotiate a deal that would be matched by the player’s current team nor anxious to surrender compensation. Or, possibly, there’s collusion when it comes to players with three years of experience and no contract for year four.
That could change with Cruz. A team in the bottom portion of round one could be willing to swap its pick for one of the best young receivers in the game — especially if that team has the cap space to craft a front loaded offer the Giants can’t or won’t match.
Some of you have suggested that a team with a higher pick in round one could trade down and then use the lower pick for a crack at Cruz. It’s a good idea, but the rules prevent it. The pick that becomes compensation for a restricted free agent or a franchise player is the pick originally held by the team making the offer. If the team doesn’t have its original pick, an offer sheet can’t be signed.
Either way, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will make a run at Cruz soon. In a week or two, however, things could get interesting.