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J.R. Smith, Close Friend of Victor Cruz, Says WR “Pretty Much” Wants to Stay with New York Giants

March 24th, 2013 at 12:15 PM
By Dan Benton

New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith, a close personal friend of NFL star Victor Cruz, said on Saturday that the wide receiver "pretty much" wants to remains with the New York Giants long-term. And with those comments, the entire planet has now officially (okay, so, not officially) weighed in on the Cruz-Giants situation.

“I hope he [stays]," Smith told the New York Post on Saturday. “This is pretty much where he wants to be. I’m a Cowboys fan, but I still root for him. It would be nice for him to stay home."

Luckily for Cruz, if he truly wants to remain with Big Blue, all he has to do is tell agent Tom Condon to accept the $7 million+ annual deal the Giants have offered. Of course, that would mean earning upwards of $3 million less per season than the $8-$10 million he is said to be seeking – but it's all about loyalty, right?

Cruz has remained publicly hopeful that he and the Giants can reach a long-term agreement, but he's also said on a number of occasions that if the two sides can't find mutual ground, he's open to playing elsewhere. However, as we mentioned on Saturday, the chances of another team signing him to an offer sheet are slim at best, so the Giants are (seemingly) his only realistic option at this point.

And with that, you have your non-update update on Victor Cruz for the day.

Photo Credit: Mike Gannon

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Tags: Football, J.R. Smith, New York, New York Giants, New York Knicks, NFL, Tom Condon, Victor Cruz

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132 Responses to “J.R. Smith, Close Friend of Victor Cruz, Says WR “Pretty Much” Wants to Stay with New York Giants”

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  1.  Dirt says:

    I love this Cruz story. I would think Dan’s bottom line likes it too.

    I also love how FF55 always writes a longass brilliant post that gets UUTed

  2.  CT GIANT says:

    Lets make an assumption: Cruz does not sign a deal and Mara/Reese say enough already, then what?
    Could the giants trade him?
    Any thoughts, comments?
    CT Giant

    •  jfunk says:

      My first thought would be that he simply signs his tender and plays for one year, at which point the Giants would probably give him a franchise tag and try to trade him. He’ll have a little bit of leverage to push the trade along because the Giants won’t want to carry the huge franchise tag cap hit if he signs the tender.

      I don’t see them letting him go this year for anything less than a 1st. Next year they’d take what they can get and hopefully wind up with a bidding war for him.

  3.  fanfor55years says:

    re-post because my Florida/Necker Island brooding ain’t getting buried by an update THAT easily!

    fanfor55years says:
    March 24, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    A few things to say after 10 days away:

    First. take a look at the great opinion piece by Scott Fujita in today’s NYTimes. That is a very wise young man.

    Second, anyone giving Reese grief over this off-season is a first-class fool. Of course, until the draft is done there’s no way to grade him, but his “interim” grade is an A. He retained Beatty at a fair price when the player had the leverage despite not being a complete LT yet. He extended Baas (in what I believe will prove to be a very wise move despite the general dislike of Baas around here). He let the overrated, and now overpaid, Bennett go (I love the guy, but he was so overrated around here it was absurd). He has stood firm with Boothe, a pretty decent but not more than that NFL professional, and will almost certainly either retain him or find a quality substitute at his budgeted cost out of the many free agents who have not yet been put under contract. He retained David Carr when almost everyone assumed he was gone. He brought in stronger-legged placekickers (one of the CRITICAL needs of the team in the new NFL); he signed both Rogers and Jenkins to address the other absolutely CRITICAL weakness that was exposed in 2012 on this team while dumping the contract that Canty could no longer justify; he brought in Murphy, who I think is going to be a significant “plus factor” and already acts as some insurance against Cruz’s departure if someone makes a late run at him because Murphy’s presence would open things for Nicks and Randle because the safeties would have to respect Murphy’s speed and get deep; he retained Rivers at veteran minimum (which I think will prove a great “sleeper” deal if Rivers can give them a reasonably healthy season); he brought in a tight end in Myers who is a classic “Jerry Reese special” because while he showed some weakness in his blocking game it was, in part, the result of an injury which is not the recurring type, and therefore means his value could be WAY higher than his price (and one thing we absolutely know is that he is a very reliable target with good hands….far more the classic Giants’ tight end who can help in the Red Zone than was TBU, whose hands were always a bit suspect, especially when Eli had to really fire a ball in confined space); and he has refused to panic in regard to Cruz.

    Add to the above that he has not yet approached Eli and Rolle for any restructure, that he brought in two players in Mundy and Connor who will compete with younger, hopefully better, players for roles on the team, that he brought back Aaron Ross to compete at his best position of nickel corner, and that he still has flexibility in regard to what is done with Diehl, and I don’t know how anyone could think he has done less than brilliantly since the day the season ended. Oh, you can add that he has already positioned the Giants for a salary dump in 2014 that will get them way under the cap so has pretty much guaranteed that they will be able to retain JPP, Nicks, Prince and a few others they’ll choose while bringing in an impact free agent and continuing to build through the draft. Jerry Reese is brilliant.

    Third, remember that there will still be decent players, especially some who can play on the interior of the offensive line, who will be looking for work after the draft is complete, and will come relatively cheap. Reese has plugged a lot of holes going into the draft. Hopefully he can grab impact players for the middle of the defense (a big weakness in 2012), at corner (where he needs to be thinking about 2014), on the offensive line, and possibly at safety and receiver as well. No doubt his two-year draft plan includes pass-rushers, but I’m not at all sure he needs them this year and I’m not sure I see players available that will justify early picks for that role. I like what we’ll have at DE and at the outside linebacker spots in 2013, and I think having some combinations that include some from among Ross, Thomas, Hill, Rolle and Hosley in the defensive backfield would also enable Fewell to bring pressure from that area too.

    If Cruz signs 2013 is looking pretty good to me. If someone grabs him and we get a first-round pick that still seems okay to me, as I’ve said from the start. The one really bad outcome is a holdout. And after having been offered a solid contract Cruz does that then I’ll be happy to see him gone in 2014 along with his lousy clothing line. If he thinks playing chicken with Reese and Mara is a good strategy I hope Condon has disabused him of that notion. I strongly suspect the Giants will stick with what they offered plus a very tiny bit more that is just window-dressing. This is a very smart franchise. Unlike most fans, they know that they can live without Victor Cruz. They, wisely, want him, but not if the price is so high that it kills them with other players they hope to retain when their negotiations come up down the road.

  4.  jfunk says:

    Luzz – I agree that Osi was never the best DE in football. Wasn’t trying to argue he should have been paid as such. Just saying that Reed’s “classy” exit can’t be directly compared to Osi’s “indifferent” exit when the two had drastically different relationships with their teams. Osi’s exit would in all likelihood looked and sounded a lot more like Reed’s if Osi’s paycheck had looked a lot more like Reed’s (relative to position).

    FF55 & others – I’ve noticed several comments recently about Ross being great as a nickle. When was that? My memory isn’t a steel trap, but I seem to recall him being at his worst there. He’s a strider more than a quick guy I believe…didn’t he get eaten alive when forced inside?

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Ross’ best role is in a position where he can play tight to the LOS and help against the run as well as be able to lean forward in coverage rather than have to make quick adjustments after a bad read. His weakness has always been against double moves, and as the nickel corner that would be a rare problem since the slot guys will usually be either picking a zone to run into or clearing space for a trailing receiver.

      I don’t think he will beat out Hosley, but the kid still has a lot to learn. Meanwhile, Ross CAN play the outside (although not brilliantly) and could win a job as depth there.

      Where I think Ross could really shine, though, is in nickel and dime defenses against the pistol offense where a corner who can both cover a short zone but also come up and close on the option quarterback should be very valuable.

    •  Chad Eldred says:

      Osi is a big boy he can do what he wants, but how easy would it be for him to keep his mouth shut and be remembered fondly by the fans of NY? I’ve never really had anything against him through all of the chirping about his contract etc. He was a huge part of the team and there are many great memories he has given us. But I have to say every time he takes a juvenile shot at the organization or team I lose respect for him. And I become increasingly apathetic about his impending departure.

  5.  Chad Eldred says:

    If Cruz really wants the 8-10 mil, he will get it on the open market next year. However, looking at it as objectively as I am able to, I would take what is being offered right now if I were Cruz. He gets a nice contract in a town that loves him. He can easily make up the difference in endorsements, etc. And most importantly he doesn’t have to worry about his future financial security evaporating with one ACL tear during the season.

    •  Krow says:

      Assuming they don’t franchise him.

      •  Chad Eldred says:

        Yes of course, but without getting into the mechanics of the circus that will ensue next off-season my main point remains. Nobody is going to franchise the guy if he tears an ACL. The old “bird in the hand” adage it still very much relevant today.

  6.  Krow says:

    It bears remembering that eliminating the RFA year adds a million a year to the deal. So a $7 mil/year offer ends up being $8 mil.

  7.  rlhjr says:

    I think Ross best attributes were his ability to close and tackle. His make up speed was really outstanding, and he could bait a QB into throwing a pick.
    And the kid caught the ball when it was catchable, which is BIG.
    On the other hand, he had to use that make up speed a lot as result of being beaten. He had a ton of ham string issues, but he was not a scrub.

    That said, Ross was likely the best tackling corner the Giants have had since Mark Collins. Physical and fearless are what come to mind. No, in space coverage is not his strong suit. Experience may help him, but coverage of smallish receivers is better left to players like Hosley or the “Javier Arenas” kid from Alabama that KC drafted a few years ago. Guys like Jackson and Maclin are poison to Ross and other six foot and taller DBs.

    Now if the Giants had Hanford Dixon or Frank Minnifield……………………

    •  Begiant says:

      If I remember correctly T2 was a great tackler and led our team a year or two. In addition Prince looks like a great tackler as well.

      •  rlhjr says:

        True that Begiant
        However, not a single one of those named a better tackler and more physical than Mark Collins. End of story.

        Thomas was pretty good. Prince will get there, but right now he’s not even close Collins level of all around play. We’re talking about a guy in Collins who lined up against Jerry Rice and held his own every time. We’re talking a guy who made Emmit Smith look specifically for him once he broke the line of scrimmage.

    •  MentalHockey says:

      Also, the fact that Ross is back, is awesome. He was my favorite player and now I don’t feel so weird wearing his jersey, since all I have is his and a vintage LT.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but against the Cowboys didn’t Ross separate his shoulder, get it popped back in and then make a drive saving tackle on Marion Barber, separating his shoulder again in the process in the 2007 playoffs?

  8.  fanfor55years says:

    I’m bewildered that people dislike Osi for his moaning about his contract and therefore discount the quality of his play, which was tremendous and helped get us two championships that would almost certainly NOT have been won without him (the ball he knocked out of Rodgers’ hand was probably going to beat us had it been released, and he saved at least two other critical games with strip sacks) but seem to lack any resentment of Cruz, who admittedly turned out to be a steal but owes the Giants his career since they plucked him off the scrap heap as an UDFA that no one else wanted. I like Cruz, a lot. I hope he stays with the team. But if he hits the road because he “needs” more than the effectively $8MM per year the Giants have offered because he thinks he’s worth more after just two years of terrific play, then give me Osi over Cruz as the less ungrateful player.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think these players should seek as much as possible. But Cruz is just stupid if he turns down this deal and the chance to become a major long-term presence in his “home region” because he wants an extra $1MM per annum (which translates to about $500,000 after all costs and taxes are paid). The only possible reason for this deal to have not been signed is if the Giants are playing dirty with the guarantees. But if he is getting something like $17-$20MM in guaranteed dollars then he should have already signed. If he doesn’t, or even worse, holds out, he’ll quickly go from a player I really like (my son bought his jersey and wears it to games) to one I cannot wait to see depart.

    As for Osi, I wish him the best and think he’s simply an intelligent guy who understood that he made a decision that seemed worse in retrospect than it was and wears his emotions on his sleeve. When he signed it was a great deal for both sides. He should have shut up about it, but while he kept complaining he continued to play at a high level (until 2012, when his game deteriorated, making him absolutely expendable).

    •  Chad Eldred says:

      I don’t know if you’re referring to G101 in general or what regarding Osi?. There is nothing in the recent threads where anyone is diminishing his playing ability. If people don’t like guys who whine publicly about their contract, that’s their prerogative.

      •  fanfor55years says:

        Nah, I haven’t seen 101 in a few weeks. I was referring to the wild stuff that I’ve seen today elsewhere with lots of fans saying Osi’s a baby and a traitor.

  9.  maratechfan says:

    Tisch reported the Giants have offered $7 million+/ year. I was watching the Knick game and I swear I saw Cruz say, ” It is looking good”. I believe Condon is fair and I believe this offer is fair.

  10.  MentalHockey says:

    Victor Cruz! is going to be a Giant for the next couple of years. He’ll sign a contract before April 19th and that will be the end of the entire thing. Hell if he signs it on April 18th, I’m considering it a birthday present from the Giants and Cruz! to me.

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