After his past 2 seasons, you had to know this was coming. Star WR Victor Cruz and Giants owner John Mara reportedly had agreed to the terms early in the season that would keep Cruz as a restricted free agent this summer. While the hard figure has never been released, Cruz’s current contract has him making $540,000. Now if you compare that to what other WRs have gotten, especially Antonio Brown’s 5 year-$42.5 million deal, you have to wonder why would the Giants drag their feet on negotiations?
Like any sports team, it really comes down to the math. Although Cruz was instrumental in carrying the Giants to their 2nd Superbowl victory over Tom Brady’s Patriots in 2012, meeting his demands would put the Giants further over the salary cap than they currently are (+$4 million). They also were exposed on their weaknesses in other areas this season. Giants owner John Mara would comment only saying “We certainly want him back, but like with any player, there’s a limit to where we’re going to go. If you spend too much money in him, it’s going to limit what you can do in other areas. We have needs. I’m hopeful we are going to make a deal, but we have a year to get that worked out.
Cruz fired back with hubris that’s backed up by his numbers
“I think I have definitely proven myself to be one of the highest compensated receivers in the league. That’s kind of the way that I feel and my team feels, not only on the field, but as well as what I bring to the Giants as a brand and as an activist and person in the community. I think all of that taken into account; I’m definitely not asking for much as far as what’s on the table.”
And I have to say I agree with Cruz. It’s his agent’s job to start high and come down to a realistic number that’s acceptable. I can understand wanting the big bucks for what he does for the Giants franchise. He’s the perfect type of personality that’ll rake in endorsements; which he’s already proven he can do with Time Warner and Campbell’s Soup. While Mara is worried about being over the luxury tax, I’m not sure I can see him letting Cruz walk. Primarily because the other Giants WRs aren’t nearly as good as he is. Domenik Hixon is the closest wideout to Cruz in terms of speed and good hands. However, this year was the 1st he’s been fully healthy.
Additionally, not that age is a defining factor, but Cruz is 26. This is the right time for him to be getting a max deal anyway.