New York Giants co-owner John Mara told reporters Monday the team, as expected, will place a first-round tender on the dynamic slot receiver.
Schein: Free agency matchmaker
Which team should nab Dashon Goldson? What's the best fit for Reggie Bush? Adam Schein matches players with teams. More ...
Mara also said the team has made Cruz "a very substantial offer," enough to make the 26-year-old pass-catcher a "very wealthy young man," according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. Cruz's camp reportedly still wants a chance to test the open market, but the tender gives New York security. Any team making a play for Cruz will be forced to hand over a first-round draft pick to the Giants.
The first-round tender (even a second-round tender) typically prevents restricted free agents from defecting, but Cruz is unique. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported that "a ton of interest" surrounds the three-year pro, with "plenty of teams just waiting for their opening" once free agency begins Tuesday.
"There is enough interest in Cruz to make me think this could be the year someone bites on an RFA," Rapoport noted. Handing away a first-round pick might be too rich for some potential suitors, but teams know what they're getting from Cruz, and placed in the right offense -- with the right quarterback -- he can flip the switch.