Tender love

Looks like the Giants decided to protect themselves and tender some of their key players who could potentially be restricted free agents depending on the new CBA.

League sources confirm that Ahmad Bradshaw, Barry Cofield, Kevin Boss and Dave Tollefson received second-round tenders from the Giants.

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reports that Steve Smith has received a second-round tender from the Giants. A league source says Mathias Kiwanuka received an original round qualifying offer. Kiwanuka was drafted in the first round. According to the Newark Star Ledger, the Giants would receive second-round compensation, though, if another team signed Kiwanuka to an offer and the Giants decided not to match.

All of this may be meaningless if a new collective bargaining agreement determines that all players with expiring contracts are unrestricted free agents. If the new collective bargaining agreement decides that these Giants are restricted free agents as they would be under the current CBA, the Giants would receive a second-round pick if a team signs a second-round tendered player to an offer sheet and the Giants opt not to match.

The Newark Star Ledger also reports that Kevin Boothe has been tendered but it wasn't immediately known at what level. Also, return specialist Domenik Hixon could be tendered as well. Hixon (knee), Kiwanuka (neck) and Smith (knee) are rehabbing from serious injuries. The Giants may eventually decide to offer Kiwanuka and Smith one-year deals to re-establish their worth. The Giants are also expected to re-sign Hixon.

"I got an Email today, I am not going to disclose that, but it is some positive news," Smith said in an appearance on Jim Rome is Burning.

The Giants have until midnight on Thursday to issue their restricted free agent tenders. The Giants want to bring back Bradshaw, Cofield, Boss, Tollefson, Smith, Kiwanuka, Boothe and Hixon. They have 21 players with expiring contracts. Tendering some of them protects the Giants just in case the new CBA keeps those players as RFAs.

Giants CEO and president John Mara said the team was in a tough position when it came to the decision to offer tenders to restricted free agents.

“That puts them in a tough spot,” Mara said last week at the scouting combine. “It puts us in a tough spot, too. We’ll just have to deal with that when we get a CBA done."