Tye signed a one-year, $615,000 contract on Friday, according to a source. Tight end Matt LaCosse and defensive tackle Robert Thomas also were tendered contracts as ERFAs and will return for the 2017 season.
Tye, 25, started 10 games last season for the Giants, finishing with 48 receptions for 395 yards and one touchdown. His return was inevitable given the restrictions as a ERFA. The Giants had the option of tendering each player at the minimum salary commensurate with his experience.
This will be Tye’s third year with the team. He initially caught on during a rookie tryout after playing collegiately at Stony Brook, and eventually worked his way into the starting lineup.
Tye, LaCosse and Jerell Adams are the only three tight ends currently under contract. The Giants are expected to address the position in free agency or the draft this year.
Thomas, 25, signed a one-year, $540,000 deal last Wednesday. He recently completed his first season with the team after being claimed off waivers from Carolina. The Arkansas product had five tackles and one sack in eight games. He played a total of 68 snaps after overcoming an illness that limited him for several weeks upon his arrival.
Thomas could be asked to play a bigger role this season if the Giants are unable to re-sign defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, who is set to become a free agent. Hankins played 69 percent of the team’s defensive snaps last season, the most among Giants defensive tackles.
Whitlock and Edwards are returning from major injuries. They spent all of the 2016 season on injured reserve.
Whitlock needed Lisfranc surgery last summer and also was suspended 10 games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. He was a key special-teamer and versatile player (fullback, defensive tackle, special teams) for the Giants during the 2015 season. Edwards tore his ACL during a minicamp practice last year and missed the entire season.