Giants pass on franchise tag

The New York Giants opted not to use their franchise tag by Monday's deadline, as expected.

Co-owner John Mara said a few weeks ago that the team was likely not going to utilize the distinction on any of its players. Only eight teams used the designation before Monday's deadline.

The Giants have used the franchise tag only three times since the system began in 1993, on tackle Jumbo Elliott (1993), running back Brandon Jacobs (2009) and last year on punter Steve Weatherford.

The Giants used the tag on Jacobs and Weatherford in an effort to later reach a long-term deal. Perhaps the only candidate the Giants might've considered using the tag on this year was left tackle Will Beatty. But the Giants and Beatty agreed last week to a five-year deal worth as much as $38.75 million.

Teams are allowed to enter contract negotiations with agents of unrestricted free agents this weekend. The Giants have several free agents, including left guard Kevin Boothe, tight end Martellus Bennett, defensive end Osi Umenyiora, safety Kenny Phillips, middle linebacker Chase Blackburn, linebacker Keith Rivers and kicker Lawrence Tynes.

They also have restricted free agents like wide receiver Victor Cruz, safety Stevie Brown and running back Andre Brown.