Will Tye, the Giants starting tight end at the end of last season, will be returning for 2017 to at least compete for the job again.
Tye has re-signed with the Giants for one year and a salary of $615,000, NFL Players Association records show. He is one of three "exclusive rights" free agents re-signed by the Giants, joining the two whose deals were reported Tuesday -- tight end Matt LaCosse and defensive tackle Robert Thomas.
The Giants have declined to make the ERFA qualifying offer of a one-year, minimum-salary deal to two other ERFAs - receiver Ben Edwards (as reported by SNY on Tuesday) and fullback Nikita Whitlock.
A source close to Whitlock told SNY he had not yet been informed of the decision as of Tuesday night, but ESPN reported on Wednesday morning that the decision to not tender him had been made. Whitlock had surgery on his foot last summer and spent the entire 2016 season on injured reserve. He also was suspended 10 games for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances - his second suspension in two years for PEDs.
Re-signing Tye, 25, was a no-brainer for the Giants, considering how thin they are at the tight end position. The former undrafted free agent out of Stony Brook (in 2015) started 10 games last season and caught 48 passes for 395 yards and one touchdown as he took over the starting job from Larry Donnell.
Donnell is an unrestricted free agent, but the Giants have no intention of re-signing him. That leaves the Giants with Tye, LaCosse and Jerell Adams, their seventh-round pick from a year ago. The Giants are expected to add another tight end either in free agency or via the NFL draft