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John Mara: Victor Cruz asking too much from Giants

Victor Cruz wants to remain a New York Giant. The organization wants the same for its young wide receiver. But the two parties are not close to deal.

Cruz will be a restricted free agent and has been one of the biggest bargains in football the last two seasons. He made $540,000 in 2012. Giants owner John Mara was asked if a deal will get done before next season?

"I hope so, and we certainly want him back," Mara told Newsday's Bob Glauber reported. "But, like with any player, there's a limit to where we're going to go (monetarily). He's been a terrific player for us, he's a fan favorite, he does a lot for our franchise, but there is a limit. But I hope we can get him back, and you know what, this is the best place for him to be playing. He's become such a fan favorite, he's become so popular in this area.

"I think it's in his best interest to stay. But that's sales pitch anyway. I think we'll get something done. ... But if not, God bless him, we'll wish him luck."

Mara believes Cruz will test the market and he should command a first-round tender as a receiver with 2,628 yards, 19 touchdowns and a Pro Bowl selection in the last two seasons.

"In an ideal world, yeah, we would like to have him back," Mara said. "But I understand he's going to test the market and he's entitled to do that but we'll see what happens down the road. ... There's a limit with any player, you have a salary cap, if you spend too much money on him, that's going to limit what you can do in other areas where we have needs. So I'm hopeful that we're going to be able to make a deal. We have a year to get that worked out.

"(He) is a high priority, he absolutely is, but he's not our only priority. You have to have 53 guys signed and we have some needs in other areas, too. But listen, we do want him back and he is certainly a priority and I'm still optimistic about it."

Mara flat-out said Cruz has asked for too much money "right now...but that's his agent," The Star Ledger's Jenny Vrentas reported.

That's normal. Cruz goes with a high number and the Giants go low and they meet somewhere in the middle. That's negotiation. Cruz is entering his fourth year in the NFL and has put up huge numbers with Eli Manning being the only other Pro Bowl talent at the offensive skill positions. The Giants would be unwise to let Cruz walk after they developed him from an undrafted rookie free agent.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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