With Victor Cruz signing his RFA tender, it seems like a meaningful step forward in the negotiations between the wide receiver and the New York Giants, although the long-term contract talks have been going on for quite some time, and yet there’s no real resolution to the situation.
Cruz didn’t really have a choice but to sign the $2.8 million tender, giving him some sort of financial security for next season. He wasn’t going to get the money he asked for anywhere else, and proceeding onward without signing the tender might have lowered the offer to $1 million, but the Giants don’t want things to get ugly between the sides.
So where do we stand? Cruz is going to show up to training camp, but continue and seek the kind of money he’s looking for in the meantime. The difference? It began with Cruz asking for around $10-11 million a season on a four-year deal, while the Giants wouldn’t budge from $7 million.
Over the last couple of months, there has been significant progress, as the Giants are stuck on $8 million, while Cruz has lowered his demands to $9 million. And despite the relatively small difference, there’s no answer yet.
The Giants can’t afford to put Cruz and Nicks on two eight-figure deals, knowing that Eli Manning is tied up to a huge one as well. That will be crippling to their cap space, not to mention the injury risk Hakeem Nicks has proven to be so far in his career. Cruz himself? He’s durable, so far, but a 500 yard drop from a season to the next is slightly worrying.
Teams figured out how to play Cruz, not to mention his difficulties when Nicks wasn’t playing. Getting physical early on with him during plays took him out of his route more than once, and the explosive slot receiver that terrorized opponents during 2011 was far from as explosive in 2012.
It’s hard to see the Giants committing so much money for such a long time on a slot receiver they don’t feel is their number one guy. Cruz might think he’s an irreplaceable star, but as time goes by, it’s more and more likely he’ll lose this mini-battle to get richer than he deserves to be.