It seems we’re at a standstill, which means it’s bad for Victor Cruz. The New York Giants aren’t going to pay a slot receiver, a very good one but still not a number one wide receiver type the kind of money he thinks he deserves. Eventually, knowing they have Hakeen Nicks to pay for as well and secretly knowing he’s the better player when healthy, Cruz is the one who’s going to lose from all of his stalling.
There’s nothing wrong with a player trying to make the most out of a situation and looking for the best deal the market can give him. Still, Cruz’ production dropped by by nearly 30% last season, catching 86 passes for 1092 yards. Teams have figured him out, and while he’s still very hard to stop, he’s looking a lot less surprising or explosive than when he did in 2011. Getting physical with him does the job over the course of a game.
The Giants, who have Cruz on an RFA tender of $2.8 million, aren’t in a rush, but they know it’s better to have a player who is satisfied and tied up for a few years when heading into the new season. They have the leverage in this situation, because no one is going to pay Cruz the kind of money, $10-11 million a season, he’s expecting to get.
The Giants are offering him $7 million a season, more or less, with some thinking they’re willing to go as high as $8 million on a four year deal. So far Cruz isn’t taking it, but no one tried to sign him on an offer sheet since the beginning of free agency, and it’s pretty clear he isn’t getting a better deal elsewhere. The Giants can also sign him on a franchise tender next season, which will give him somewhere around $11-12 million a season. That’s an average of $7 million for the next two seasons.
Maybe if Cruz does have another monster season, he’ll be able to change the current power balance in negotiations and warrant a contract that will place him among the highest paid wide receivers in the NFL for a few years. Realistically that’s probably not going to happen, and all this stalling is simply adding bad blood to a team that could be running for a Super Bowl once again if everything clicks.