The New York Giants and Victor Cruz finally came to terms on an extension, with the team reportedly set to pay the Pro Bowl wideout $45.879 million over the next six seasons. The deal will put Cruz on the cusp of the top 10 highest-paid receivers in the league, a remarkable achievement for a player just three years removed from going undrafted. Did the Giants pay too much for Cruz, or did he accept too little?
Victor Cruz continues to impress with his play-making on the field and decision-making off it. He previously turned down an offer from "Dancing With The Stars" to focus on being the best football player he can be. He mapped out a confident and precise offseason plan, while negotiating a long-term deal with the Giants, saving himself from potential injury by not participating on the field this spring. He understood that the only true risk at that moment in negotiations was a season-ending injury in a meaningless practice.
Most importantly, Cruz and the Giants realized they both wanted each other and will soon publicly announce their commitment to each other. Sounds like a made-for-TV special. Bravo. This contract looks a VICTOR-y for both sides.
You've heard it a million times: The NFL is a quarterback league. That belief was proven once again with Cruz's deal. I don't believe the Giants overpaid to secure Eli Manning's security blanket for the next six seasons.
Cruz is one of the toughest matchups in the league. He has the short-area quickness and instincts of Wes Welker, but also boasts more juice to create big plays than his slot counterpart. And he's six years younger. This was a no-brainer move by the Giants.
The Giants are one of the best organizations in the NFL, and they proved it again with the Victor Cruz contract.
This deal is more than fair and allows the team to rightly give Hakeem Nicks more money. And Nicks deserves it. Nicks is the beast. Nicks has the height, hands and physical nature. The Giants wisely have built their team around Eli Manning. This puts them in great position for the present and the future.
And it makes sense for Cruz, too. He wanted to stay in New York to play with Eli, gets paid millions of dollars and still will attract endorsements.
The Giants didn't pay too much; Cruz didn't accept too little. Win-win deals are possible, right?
New York held the line and paid Cruz like a quality No. 2 wide receiver, leaving money available for the team to give Hakeem Nicks even more money a year from now. Cruz was smart to not let the negotiations extend into the season (while risking a career-changing injury or a down year). There is no guarantee Cruz would have done that much better on the open market a year from now. Rob Gronkowski is a good recent example of a player smartly taking the sure money now, rather than letting it ride.
The other teams always set the market for a star player. Even as a restricted free agent, Cruz didn't generate much interest. Teams likely were worried about his size and health over the long haul, along with a bit of regression in 2012. Cruz dropped a fair number of passes, and he's always struck me as someone who really doesn't like to get hit.
All that said, he's still a valuable player who has gained the trust of Eli Manning and can produce as long as he has a true No. 1 WR opposite him. But for almost $8 million a year? The Giants overpaid in a big way. If New York had come in at five years and $25 million with some reachable incentives to take it to $30 million, what was Cruz going to do? Not take the biggest payday of his life after coming into the league undrafted? Sure, New York would run the risk of being seen as a low-balling team, but that doesn't mean you have to give money away. This was a clear win for Team Salsa.