Blogger Blitz: Cruz shouldn't get hopes up
October, 25, 2012
By Dan Graziano | ESPN.com
New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz came out this week and said he hoped he and the team could work out a contract extension before the end of this season. I'm sure he does, and I guess it's possible, but if Cruz and the Giants come to any kind of agreement before the end of this season, expect it to be a very team-favorable deal. As I discuss in this week's Blogger Blitz video, the Giants simply have no incentive to do a deal with Cruz at this point. They have Hakeem Nicks on the roster, and he'll want a new deal at the end of this season as well. Having two No. 1-type wideouts gives the Giants a cushion, and allows them to let the season play out and use the remaining nine games as data to help them decide what to do with both of them.
I saw Wednesday where former NFL player Ross Tucker tweeted that Cruz should consider sitting out until he gets a new deal, so low is his salary that it's not worth the injury risk. And I appreciate where Ross is coming from. The only leverage an underpaid player in Cruz's situation has is a threat not to play. I just don't think it would be in Cruz's best interest to do so at this point. The Giants have shown they could win games with Nicks on the shelf. They would certainly tell Cruz they could win with him sitting out, especially now that Nicks is back. They believe in their depth at wide receiver and the ability of quarterback Eli Manning to get the most out of whoever's out there on the field with him.
Cruz is obviously a star-caliber talent who should be making more than he's making, but in this case (as is so often the case) all of the leverage is on the side of the team. They could decide to do right by him and give him a raise -- a short-term deal that helps him make something closer to what he's worth and offers at least some degree of longer-term security than he has right now. But no way can he, during this season, get a deal commensurate with those of the top wideouts in the game. Not with all of the mitigating factors we've discussed here, and not without the legitimate threat of a holdout or free-agent interest from another team. If Cruz really wants to cash in big, he's going to have to wait, and I think he knows that.