Eli Manning remains optimistic, but the Giants’ two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback does not expect to see Victor Cruz again until he gets his long-term deal.

General manager Jerry Reese offered Thursday a slightly more opened-ended take on Cruz and his quest for a new contract with the Giants:

"I don’t assume anything," said Reese, repeating the statement for emphasis Thursday. "We’ll see – I can tell you this – when we get ready to play, when the season starts, we’ll have some good players out there. I’m not sure Victor will be there or not, but I don’t assume anything here. It doesn’t affect our draft. We’re just going to pick the best player up there. You know, if Victor’s not here, we have other receivers. It’s all about the team for us. You know, one player doesn’t make your team. So if Victor’s not here, there’s other receivers here."

Reese spoke during a pre-draft news conference. He ended up answering more questions about Cruz’s continued absence from the team’s voluntary off-season workout program, which began Monday, and his contract status than anything else in a nearly 15-minute session with reporters.

Cruz is a restricted free agent and is not under contract with the Giants, who extended him a qualifying first-round tender of $2.879 million for one-year last month. The other 31 teams have until 11:59 p.m. today to sign Cruz to an RFA offer sheet, which is unlikely because of the hefty price.

Co-owner John Mara said last month that the Giants have made a long-term contract offer that would make Cruz "a very wealthy young man," the terms of which are believed to be between $7 million and $8 million per year.