While it’s still possible that Giants receiver Victor Cruz will skip training camp and uncur daily fines of $30,000 despite signing his restricted free agency tender, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll hold out beyond August 6.
Because Cruz is now under contract, failing to show up at least 30 days before the regular-season opener on September 5 between the Ravens and Broncos means that Cruz would lose a year of credit toward free agency. Which, in Cruz’s case, means he wouldn’t be a free agent in March 2014.
Multiple players have ignored the deadline in recent years. In 2011, Titans running back Chris Johnson stayed out beyond the 30-day deadline, even though he had only three years of NFL service. Ditto for former Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis in 2010. Both players, however, still had two years remaining under their rookie contracts, so they wouldn’t have been free agents the following March even if they’d shown up more than 30 days before the first game of the regular season.
For Cruz, it’s a much simpler proposition, now that he’s under contract. If he shows by August 6, he’ll be a free agent in March 2014. If he doesn’t, the Giants will be able to use the restricted free agency tender again.
Which means that, for the same reasons he took the money by signing the RFA tender today, he’ll show up no later than August 6.