Giants star receiver Cruz signs $2.879 million tender
NFL notes • He continues to work on long-term deal.
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New York • Wide receiver Victor Cruz has signed his $2.879 million tender with the New York Giants.

Two people familiar with the contract told The Associated Press on Friday that the restricted free agent with three years in the NFL had signed the tender while he works on a long-term deal with the Giants.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the signing has not been announced publicly.

Had the 26-year-old Cruz not signed before Monday, the Giants' offer could have been reduced to $630,000 for the 2013 season. The Giants could have matched any offers Cruz received from other teams.

Cruz skipped all of New York's offseason program, but will be required to show up at training camp beginning in late July.

An undrafted free agent in 2010 out of Massachusetts who became a star with the Giants as they won the 2011 NFL title, Cruz is coming off a Pro Bowl season. He made 86 catches for 1,092 yards and scored 10 touchdowns as one of the league's best slot receivers last year, and was even more effective during the Super Bowl season with 82 catches for 1,536 yards and nine TDs, including a 99-yarder against the Jets.

Those two strong seasons made Cruz vastly underpaid heading toward the upcoming season. So he sought a longer contract.

When that didn't happen, he stayed away from the team's training sessions and this week's minicamp, which concluded Thursday.

Cruz has become extremely popular with Giants fans for the salsa he performs after each touchdown, and for his work in the community. He is from Paterson, N.J., about 30 minutes from the Meadowlands where the Giants practice and play.

Around the league

Bills • Quarterback EJ Manuel can focus solely on competing for Buffalo's starting job now that the rookie first-round draft pick has his contract out of the way. Manuel signed a four-year deal worth $8.9 million, a day after the Bills closed a three-day mandatory minicamp — their final session before training camp opens on July 28 in suburban Rochester. He was selected 16th overall out of Florida State, and was the only quarterback selected in the first round.

Falcons • Atlanta has signed cornerback Robert Alford, a second-round pick from Southeastern Louisiana. Alford was the second of two cornerbacks selected by the Falcons in the draft. First-round pick Desmond Trufant remains unsigned. Alford had 10 interceptions and started 31 games at Southeastern Louisiana.

Steelers • Police say a third suspect in the stabbing of offensive lineman Mike Adams has been captured in Florida. Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard says 26-year-old Jerrell Whitlock of Pittsburgh was arrested Friday morning in Gainesville in central Florida and is being held there. Whitlock had been wanted on charges of attempted homicide, attempted robbery, aggravated assault and conspiracy for his alleged role in the June 1 attack on Adams. Two other men are already jailed on similar charges.