The New York Giants are fortunate that wideout Victor Cruz elected to play this season for $540,000. It's not everyday that a guy who breaks his team's franchise record for receiving yards in a single season is willing to come back and play the next year for pennies on the dollar compared to his fair market value. While playing for cheap in 2012 may be a courtesy to an organization that gave him a chance to become the dominant player Cruz has transformed into, the Giants are going to have to pay No. 80 before the start of next season.
This season, Cruz is third in the NFL in receptions with 50, fourth in receiving yards with 627 and tied for first in receiving touchdowns with seven. He has outplayed his current contract in every way possible and has made himself into an indispensable aspect of the Giants offense. On Monday, Cruz expressed his desire to get a new contract done before the end of this season.
"As a human being you hope to get it done before the season ends, hopefully," Cruz said. "Knock it out, put it behind us."
Despite his hope to have it done, it's also not something he plans to let consume him.
"I just kind of want to block it out," Cruz said. "I feel like if I start thinking about it, it will start consuming me, and I don't want it to get that way. I just want to block it out and focus on football, and I think I've been doing a good job of that."
The Giants are not known to negotiate contracts in the middle of the season often. They didn't do so with Osi Umenyiora and it stands to reason they will not with Cruz either. Cruz contract situation has not effected his play, so there is no upside for general manager Jerry Reese to renegotiate it at this point. If he gives Cruz a long term deal after Week 10 and the the star wideout tears his ACL in Week 12, the Giants are going to look foolish.
On top of that, the Giants still have to decide what to do with Kenny Phillips, Osi Umenyiora, Martellus Bennet, Will Beatty, and maybe even Hakeem Nicks this offseason. The uncertainty of Big Blue's already tight cap situation will make giving a mid-season contract extension to Victor Cruz a risky proposition.
However, it would be prudent for Jerry Reese to start testing the waters in determining how much Cruz will sign for. The Giants have become reliant on his big play ability and likely would not have won the Super Bowl in 2011 without him. It's imperative the Big Blue finds a way to keep Victor Cruz signed to a long term contract, but there is no reason to get it done in season. If Cruz can stay healthy and keep up his stellar production, he will get paid this offseason. Until then, should continue to focus on football.
Photo Credit: Mike Gannon
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