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Victor Cruz could receive new contract, Giants GM says

In our team-by-team salary cap series, we listed wide receiver Victor Cruz as both a bargain and an issue that the New York Giants would have to deal with in 2013. Cruz is due to earn $540,000 in base salary in 2012 and could either receive a restricted free-agent tender or franchise tag next offseason.

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Cruz might not have to wait that long as general manager Jerry Reese said a new contract for the receiver is a possibility.

"It could happen. All those options are open," Reese said Saturday, according to Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger. "I just think Victor is focused on being a good football player again. The contract situation will take care of itself."

Reese might have gained some clarity on Cruz's market value Friday when the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Antonio Brown to a five-year contract extension worth $41.96 million in "new" money.

Like Cruz, Brown had one year remaining on his rookie contract and was headed toward restricted free agency in 2013. In 25 games, and three starts, 25-year-old Brown has 85 receptions for 1,275 yards and two touchdowns, while also earning Pro Bowl honors for his return ability. Cruz is two months younger than Brown and caught 82 passes for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns in his one full NFL season.

A deal similar to Brown's could make some sense for Cruz, too. If Cruz plays out this season and receives a "first round" restricted free-agent tender in 2013, he'll earn around $3.419 million over the next two seasons. If the Giants place the franchise tag on Cruz in 2013, he'll make around $10.232 million over that span. According to reports detailing Brown's contract, the Steelers receiver will earn $13.54 million over the next two seasons.

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