Pro Bowl wide receiver Victor Cruz and the New York Giants are in a standoff over his contract. Who will flinch first?
Giants owner John Mara said signing Victor Cruz is a “high priority,” but won’t overpay him for his services. Cruz, who is one of the NFL’s most underpaid players this season with a salary of $490,000, is set to become a restricted free agent. And with the numbers he’s been producing for the Giants, of course he wants to get paid. Cruz said “I have definitely proven myself to be one of the highest compensated receivers in the league.”
Can a deal between the two negotiating parties get done before next season starts? Mara told Newsday “I hope so, and we certainly want him back. But like any player, there’s a limit to where we’re going to go.”
Doesn’t sound too good for the fan-favorite, Pro Bowl receiver, but Mara is right. There are other players, and other areas the Giants need to fix and allocate their money towards. But, at the same time, the Giants can’t afford to lose a big-play threat like Cruz.
Victor Cruz was signed as an undrafted free agent from UMass in 2010, and put the league on notice in 2011 when he finished that season with 82 receptions for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns. He showed a knack for making big plays, running crisp routes, showing he has dependable hands and incredible speed. This past 2012 season was no different, he showed he was no one-hit wonder and finished the season with 86 receptions for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns.
That kind of production will definitely get other teams salivating for Cruz’s services, and he and the Giants know that. These two sides have been negotiating for months now, and it seems they’ve made very little progress. Where will it lead in the end, and will Cruz feel unappreciated and want to hold out? That may be Cruz’s leverage to getting what he wants.
If these two parties don’t come to an agreement soon, the Giants can tender him as a restricted free agent at a first-round level, meaning they’ll commit $3 million in salary to him. If a team does pick him up, the Giants will be able to get a first round pick in return.