As we all know, Victor Cruz is after a big, fat new contract…but unfortunately for Vic, fellow New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is also headed for a new deal. And the sooner Cruz realizes that Nicks is the one about to get the big boy money, the sooner he can hopefully come to a long-term agreement of his own with the team.
Cruz is merely a "restricted" free agent, and despite key players like Will Beatty and Kenny Phillips facing unrestricted free agency, it's Cruz whose contract talks dominate the news. By the time Cruz is really a free agent, after this upcoming season, Nicks will have just completed his rookie deal and also be gearing for the payday that is NFL free agency.
A recent ESPN report makes it pretty clear that the Giants are prioritizing getting a deal done with Nicks, who the team "views as a legitimate no. 1 receiver," over Cruz.
Giants owner John Mara said last week that he wants Cruz to remain a Giant, but at a reasonable price. "We certainly want him back, but like with any player, there's a limit to where we're going to go," the Giants' co-owner told reporters Friday. "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."
The Giants do a pretty good job of both valuing players and taking care of their own, so the fact that Hakeem Nicks is on the verge of getting huge money doesn't necessarily mean the Giants are going to lowball Cruz. There's still, we can only hope, a solid contract for Cruz somewhere coming down the pipeline. He's a phenomenal player and the Giants (and Eli Manning, for sure) certainly recognize his value.
But he's going to have to settle for the good contract…after the great contract goes to Nicks.
Calvin Johnson recently got $132 million for seven years from the Detroit Lions and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers set last year's wide receiver free agent market by signing Vincent Jackson to a five-year, $55 million deal. Nicks' deal probably lands somewhere roughly in the middle of those.
Cruz's future with the team probably hinges on whether he really shoots for the stars or not. If he does, he's good enough that he'll quite possibly find a taker.
But here's to hoping he decides to settle in with Big Blue if they can come up with a good, albeit not eye-popping, offer.
The Giants can offer him a lot: he'll play across from a legitimate number one threat; he'll catch passes from a two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback; perhaps most importantly, he'll be in the biggest sports media market in the country.
They should be able to find common ground. But we'll see how that turns out once Cruz is forced to watch the kind of contract he was after go to Nicks.
Also…Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, Eli Manning, ESPN, Football, Hakeem Nicks, John Mara, Kenny Phillips, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Victor Cruz, Vincent Jackson, Will Beatty