EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants Monday announced they have failed to tender offers to seven unprotected free agents, including tackle Karl Nelson, running back Ottis Anderson and quarterback Jeff Rutledge, who are free to negotiate with any NFL team.
Under the NFL's new free agency system, clubs had to offer unprotected free agents at least 100 percent of their 1988 salary between April 2-15 to maintain exclusive negotiating rights.
The Giants also failed to make offers to linebacker Harry Carson, defensive end George Martin, center Joe Fields and tight end Tim Sherwin. Carson and Martin have retired, Fields is expected to retire and Sherwin suffered a serious neck injury last year.
Nelson, who is undergoing chemotherapy for Hodgkin's disease, is expected to sit out the 1989 season and possibly return to the Giants in 1990 if healthy. He returned to the team last season after missing the 1987 season when his cancer was first diagnosed.
A club official said Nelson probably would have been offered a contract if the NFL had not placed an 80-man training camp roster limit on teams this year.
The Giants might try to sign Anderson and Rutledge for below their 1988 salaries. Anderson, 31, was New York's second leading rusher last year with 208 yards on 65 carries and led the team with eight touchdowns. He stands 11th on the NFL career rushing list with 8,294 yards over 11 seasons. Anderson's 1988 salary was $475,000.
Rutledge, 32, was the Giants' No. 3 quarterback and spent much of 1988 on injured reserve. He threw just 11 passes last season and earned $400,000.
Before April 2, Anderson and Rutledge had received offers from other clubs below their 1988 salaries.