Excerpt: "Victor Cruz has done enough to convince the Giants he deserves to be wearing his No. 80 jersey and doing his salsa in the end zone for a long time. It is going to cost the Giants dearly, though, to get him locked up with a multi-year deal.
Cruz is set to become a restricted free agent and he’s not going anywhere, as the Giants know they cannot operate their offense without his skills at receiver. They would likely tender him on a one-year deal if they cannot agree on a long-term contract.After playing for the NFL minimums the past three years, Cruz won’t come cheap, not after two outstanding seasons by a 26-year-old on the upside of his career. His asking price is expected to be somewhere between $8 million and $10 million per year. Cruz made $540,000 this season and the last two years he has been the greatest bargain in the league.
“I think I feel comfortable where we’re at,’’ Cruz said yesterday on his weekly WFAN spot. “I think I’ve done enough to show them I’m a good guy on and off the field and I’ve done everything positive up until this point to prove that I’m somebody the organization will want to keep around for a long time. I’m positive things will come around and a positive outcome will come out of all this.’’
Cruz has previously said he wanted a new deal in place before the end of the season and revealed weeks ago that he believed the structure for such a deal was in place. Talks, he reported, “got tabled for a couple weeks mainly because the two sides agreeing to disagree at the same time. Now that the season is over and the statistics are what they are I think we’re gonna get back and pick up the pen again and see what we can do.’’Cruz is one of 22 free agents for the Giants to sort through but he figures to be a top priority. Fellow receiver Hakeem Nicks was slowed all season with foot and ankle issues, allowing opposing defenses to swing the attention to Cruz. Still, he caught 86 passes for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns, all team highs. He hasn’t missed a game in two years.
A year ago, the free agent market produced some hefty salaries for receivers and Cruz will benefit from that spending spree. After all, he compares favorably to DeSean Jackson (five years, $47 million), Robert Meachem (four years, $25.9 million) and Pierre Garcon (five years, $42.5 million). Cruz’ two-year totals (168 catches, 2,628 yards, 19 touchdowns) are better than any two seasons put together by Vincent Jackson and he signed a five year, $55.6 million mega deal with the Buccaneers." Read more...