The New York Giants begin their three-day mandatory spring minicamp Tuesday, which means the next chapter in "As the Giants' star wide receivers turn." At this writing, I would expect Hakeem Nicks -- but not Victor Cruz -- to be in attendance Tuesday.
As you know, I have been a defender of Nicks against criticism from his coach and fans for his decision to skip voluntary OTA workouts without telling the Giants why. Not because I know or care what his reasons are, but because the rules grant him the right to skip voluntary workouts without providing a reason, and I figure it's nobody's business why he didn't go. However, this week is mandatory, and if he's not there he'll be subject to justifiable fines for his absence. No defending a guy skipping mandatory work. Eli Manning says he and Nicks have been texting, and that he thinks Nicks will be there.
Cruz, however, is a different story. He does not, technically, need to attend the minicamp since he is not, technically, under contract with the Giants. The team has tendered Cruz as a restricted free agent, but he has yet to sign the $2.879 million tender as he continues to discuss a long-term deal with the Giants. As long as something better than a one-year, $2.879 million deal remains a possibility, Cruz isn't likely to subject himself to possible injury in an offseason minicamp.
No, the next significant date in the Cruz saga is a week from today -- June 17, the date on which the Giants could reduce that tender offer to $630,000 if he hasn't signed it. I would be stunned if the Giants did that, since they still want Cruz on their team long term and taking $2.3 million away from him would do more to poison the relationship than it would to foment progress on the new contract both sides want. But the fact that the team has the right to do that if it sees fit is the kind of thing that could scare Cruz into signing the tender while they continue to work on the bigger deal.
Regardless, unless Cruz and the Giants reach some sort of agreement before Tuesday morning that results in Cruz being able to set up college funds for his children, I think Manning's going to have to make do with Nicks and the rest of the Giants' wide receiver corps for these three days and hope Cruz is happy and signed by training camp next month.