Victor Cruz, Giants hammer out deal
The contract is worth $46 million and pays him $15.625 million fully guaranteed the first two seasons, a source said. He has a $9.5 million signing bonus and an additional $1.5 million roster bonus that will be paid the first day of the 2014 league year.
Cruz, who said he felt "relief" at signing the extension, skipped the Giants' organized team activities and only signed his first-round restricted free-agent tender after the team's mandatory minicamp was completed.
It was fun to finally get it done with. I was smiling from ear to ear the whole time; I couldn't stop grinning. Good to put my ink on that piece of paper and feel good about it and feel confident about it and get back to football.” -- Victor Cruz
The new contract adds five additional seasons to the one-year, first-round restricted free-agent tender worth $2.879 million that Cruz signed in June after months of stalled negotiations over a long-term extension.
"We are pleased to have this behind us," general manager Jerry Reese said in a statement from the team. "Now Victor can focus on football. Training camp is approaching quickly, and we all have a lot of work to do to get back where we want to be."
Cruz said that after going back and forth for so long with the negotiations, it felt great to walk into the Giants' facility Monday and sign a deal he was happy with.
"It was fun to finally get it done with," Cruz said. "I was smiling from ear to ear the whole time; I couldn't stop grinning. Good to put my ink on that piece of paper and feel good about it and feel confident about it and get back to football."
At the core of the negotiation, Cruz knew he wanted to stay with the organization, and that gave him the confidence not to take the first offer.
"I just knew that we were in this for the long haul," Cruz said. "We were going to be patient and wait this thing out, and make sure we made the right decision in the right way and not feel any regrets."
Cruz had the same kind of confidence when it came to how he felt the Giants were looking at the negotiations.
"I was in communication with my agent each and every day, every other day sometimes, and he assured me that things were moving in the right direction," Cruz said. "There was never a time where I thought I wouldn't be a Giant. It was just a matter of time, if I was going to be with them for one year or six. I'll take the six right now, obviously."
Cruz, 26, said staying near his home of Paterson, N.J., was a big part of his thinking. He grew up in the impoverished area, and he knows it means a lot to his former neighbors that he is not just an example, but a presence.
"It was very important, not just for the team and the Giants, but for my family being from here, for the people from Paterson, for the kids who look up to me in this area," Cruz said. "All of that played a part into this and it was very important for me. I knew that in order for me to continue to be a role model in an exponential way for these children, I would have to stay a Giant."
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Cruz came to the realization that there was enough money on the table to set him and his family up for the rest of their lives, and he didn't want to have the uncertainty of a Band-Aid deal facing him this season, so he told his agent he was ready.
"I was like, you know what? I'm done with the back and forth," Cruz said. After he signed and left the Giants' facility, he had 125 congratulatory texts on his phone.
Cruz, who is coming off two productive seasons with a total of 168 catches for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns, wants to keep fellow receiver Hakeem Nicks on the team, if he can help persuade him. Nicks is in the final year of his contract.
Cruz said his agent didn't get calls from any other teams trying to sign him, and it wouldn't have mattered.
"I don't want to play anywhere else, and financially my family is set for the rest of my life," Cruz said.
ESPN's Ed Werder and ESPNNewYork.com's Jane McManus contributed to this report.
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