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New York Giants’ Patience Will Prove Valuable in Victor Cruz Contract Negotiations

April 5th, 2013 at 11:37 AM
By Paul Tierney

The New York Giants have been in a stalemate with wide receiver Victor Cruz for the duration of the offseason. The team has reportedly offered the Pro Bowler a deal that would pay him upwards of $7 million annually, while Cruz himself is looking to be paid the highest salary of any wide receiver in the NFL. Cruz is not even the best wide receiver on his own team, let alone the entire league. However, he's still an extremely valuable commodity in the slot that can create big plays and wreak havoc on opposing defenses. The Giants want to keep him in New York for the long term, but Cruz has yet to bite on any of the team's contract offers.

'Victor Cruz makes the catch' photo (c) 2011, Kathy Vitulano - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Cruz knows he's going to be on the Giants next season. As a player who has turned in two Pro Bowl caliber seasons while playing for a fraction of his market value, he understands that this is perhaps the only chance he will ever receive to sign a big money contract. At this point in the offseason, Cruz is merely exercising his leverage to its fullest extent. It's evident the team is not going to pay him $11 million per year, but he's determined to squeeze every last dollar out of the Giants. After playing at a high level for the last two seasons, he has the right to do that.

Teams have until April 19th to sign Cruz to an offer sheet. For Cruz to play on another team in 2013, not only would another team have to beat the Giants best offer before then, but they would have to surrender a first round pick as well. Although it's not impossible that another team desperate for help at wide receiver swoops in at the last minute and breaks the bank for Cruz, it becomes more unlikely with each passing day. After April 19th, it's a guarantee that Cruz will be on the Giants next season, which means the Giants will have all the leverage in contract negotiations. At that point, Cruz can either sign his first-round tender and play for the Giants in 2013 for $2.879 million, or take the team's long term contract offer. 

Until then, Cruz has no incentive to sign a contract of any sort. If he's not satisfied with the Giants current offer, he has two more weeks to negotiate with the team, while technically still having the option to play somewhere else next season. The closer it gets to the April 19th deadline without any other teams expressing interest in Cruz, the more leverage the Giants gain in negotiations. The team has likely already made their maximum offer, now its just a matter of forcing Cruz to make a decision.

Also…

If Cruz is determined to hit free agency next offseason, there is nothing the Giants can do about it. However, it would require Cruz to play another season for significantly less than his market value, without a longer term contract and put himself in harms way for 16 more games. For a player with a multi-million dollar contract currently on the table, it stands to reason that he will eventually accept the Giants offer and guarantee his financial security for the rest of his life.

For the Giants, the key to winning these negotiations is to wait patiently. They have given Cruz a fair offer, and the team knows he is quickly running out of options. After April 19th, he will either have to take the Giants offer, or leave it on the table. Leaving the Giants offer on the table would be a huge risk, and the team is wagering that No.80 will eventually put his signature on a long term contract this offseason. However, right now the two sides are playing a waiting game, hoping that the opposition will blink first.. In all likelihood, Cruz is going to take his money, it just doesn't make sense for him to do so for another two weeks.

Tags: Football, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Victor Cruz

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25 Responses to “New York Giants’ Patience Will Prove Valuable in Victor Cruz Contract Negotiations”

  1.  fanfor55years says:

    GOAT56 says:
    April 5, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Here’s Mel Kiper Jr.’s analysis of the Giants’ upcoming draft (he has them taking CB Desmond Trufant in his mock):

    “The pass rush was a staple of this team. It was their signature on defense, and they didn’t have it last year. Linebacking is being restructured. They’ve got to get cornerbacks to, they’ve got to stay healthy at corner which they haven’t been able to do. This is a team, they’ve got to figure out the offensive line. Nicks has to stay healthy. Wilson has got to keep improving and not fumble. He got better, but he’s got to eliminate those fumbling issues.

    “They added the tight end which was nice, coming with Myers. To me, you think about Trufant. If you got Trufant or Te’o in the first, then you could go either Sio Moore, who could be a middle linebacker in their scheme, or an outside backer, but he’s got great versatility, Sio Moore from Connecticut. Or you could take a corner, whether it be Robert Alford from Southeastern Louisiana, whether it be a Jamar Taylor from Boise State. And then they could look in the third round for a defensive end like Alex Okafor from Texas would be a guy at that point, Sam Montgomery, LSU.

    “You could look at that point, guys that could get after the quarterback. A guy that is very underrated is Lavar Edwards from LSU. He should not take a backseat to anybody that’s going in that third, fourth round discussion. Lavar Edwards is a very underrated player out of LSU, played in the shadow of Mingo and Montgomery. Those would be some defensive ends for the third round.

    “So if you’ve got the middle linebacker or linebacker overall or corner in the first two rounds, then you could look at a defensive end in the third.”
    Reply

    fanfor55years says:
    April 5, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Never been a big fan of Kiper but in this case, in his own somewhat inarticulate manner, he is getting at the same point I made a few days ago.

    Reese addressed the crying need at DT with the recent signings. But he wasn’t able to solve the problems at MIKE and at cornerback, nor upgrade the rush defense, because those kinds of players are expensive free agents and we couldn’t go after blue-chip players through free agency. If you add a need on the offensive line, those are the Giants “needs” right now.

    Kiper always makes the mistake of assuming teams will draft strictly for need. That is a misjudgment of teams like the Giants that will pay attention to need, especially with their first pick, but also will throw need aside if they see an extraordinary talent sitting there when they pick.

    But I think the combination of cost-in-free-agency consideration, and need, should push Reese to grab a corner at #19, especially if Trufant is there at the time. An Amukamara, Trufant, Hosley group by 2014 (and even at times in 2013 if Webster doesn’t come back from the abyss and Ross cannot get the job done) would be terrific, and cheap for at least a few more years.

    I had been negative about going after a linebacker early until Reese signed those free agents at DT, especially Patterson, whom I think can REALLY help (if he’s healthy I believe he’s the best tackle we’ve got at the moment). Now I’m thinking an upgrade over Conner and Herzlich might, in combination with another corner, turn the defense around and make it an asset. Now I think it’s an intriguing play.

    I think we have some talent at DE that most don’t recognize yet (yeah, I’m an optimist about Ojomo in particular), but another rusher is always a possibility for the Giants.

    I still see corner, offensive line, and inside linebacker as the priorities, but a pass-rusher is always in the mix. Kiper could be right about the approach even if not the specific players.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I basically agree on the needs. Kiper is only more correct this year because we have more clear needs than we have in the past. While I think the interior OL will be addressed I think it will be in the midround range.

      Passrusher isn’t a great need for 2013 but it’s a much bigger need for 2014. Tuck is a free agent and Kiwi’s contract becomes more of a cap hit. We probably need another young player in the mix. Same could be said for DT with Joseph and Patterson free agents after this season.

      I wonder what our plan is with Rivers. I recall last year some talk about him being tried at MLB. I wonder if he will be this year. With a year in this system and his athletic ability he projects pretty well at MLB. If we did that then we have more options at LB. I still think Jarvis Jones is a strong possibility if available. I would be surprised if LB wasn’t addressed within the first 3 picks. The talent at LB seems pretty good until about the 3rd round then drops off. Other positions like Guard, DT, CB and safety are deeper.

    •  rlhjr says:

      REPOST to FF55 and GOAT56:

      I’m almost resigned to Reese not selecting a linebacker until the third round at the earliest.

      I the brain trust feel there are no special offensive or defensive line players available at 19 then I could see either Trufant or another DB of note. If they can’t see anything but a reach at 19, get ready for a trade to gain a additional pick in round two. Fun time is just starting up people.

      Truth be told, the real need position is DB. They have stop gap DL/OL players.
      There is no answer for the declining Webster. Thomas and Ross are insurance and Hosley is a slot player period.

      So baring a “special” lineman the corner opposite of Prince is critical.
      If Warmack or Cooper is sitting at 19, they would be foolish to pass.
      And these guys aren’t foolish. Not sure how they feel about either Richardson or Floyd.

      Why is it that the little voice in my head keeps sayig Ziggy Ansa?
      Maybe because between Ansa, Ojo, JPP and Kiwi the DE rotation would be set for years. Ojomo, Kiwanuka, Ansa and Paul. The “United Nations” Pass Rush

      •  rlhjr says:

        If the brain trust feel

      •  GOAT56 says:

        I here all these comments about Warmack or Cooper but I think the fact that some overlook is they really might not be that much better than the next tier of guards available.

        I agree CB is maybe our top need but looking at the team before us I can see the top 3 CBs being off the board by 19. If that happens and no DL player is there of interest then it becomes real interesting.

        I have zero doubt Ansah would be picked if available. But I don’t think he will be do to the success of guys like JPP, Jones from the Pats and Smith of SF. The interesting player is Tank Carradine because he’s easily a top half of the first round player if he was 100%. If he shows enough at his work out before the draft he’s seems like a JR type of pick.

  2.  fanfor55years says:

    One guy I do NOT want any part of (since the Cruz topic made me think of receivers) is the kid from Tennessee. Great athlete, but looked both disinterested at times when I saw their games and never saw a block he was willing to make.

    I’ll bet he’s a poor route-runner because he has used his athleticism to get himself open his entire life. Looks like exactly the kind of receiver who would never thrive in Gilbride’s (and Eli’s) offense.

    So even if the Giants convince themselves that they are going to part with Cruz after 2013 and need another receiver, and want to pick him early (which I wouldn’t do), I would take the one from West Virginia instead. THAT kid has talent, guts, and savvy.

    Sorry I’m forgetting the names. Chalk that up to age and lack of the desire to bother looking them up.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I like Patterson the kid from Tenn. I the points you make are valid and I would fully expect much like a MM very little from him from the WR position as a rookie. But I think he has upside of a true #1.

      Austin the kid from West Virginia makes Jernigan look big. Yes, he’s really fast and quick but the I don’t see him or really any rookie WR we would draft getting much playing time this year. While I see his upside and maybe better to me he’s pretty similar to Jernigan as a prospect just more NFL ready.

      The kid that I also like that reminds me of a mixture between Cruz and Steve Smith is the Woods kid from USC. I think 19 is too high to pick him but if we traded back or he fell I think he actually fits our slot position better than either Patterson or Austin, he just doesn’t have the same big play ability.

    •  clever username says:

      so do you completely feel that Jernigan is a bust? last year’s preseason, all i read on here is that he put on a show at camp, but since he’s nothing but a slot receiver, he’ll never get on the field as long as Cruz is here. i think JR still has a lot of confidence in JJ, and that’s why they won’t consider budging on their offer to Cruz. if Cruz holds out or gets signed, then JJ can take over and produce from the slot, with RR being a full time starter on the outside. i’ve been reading your posts for a long time and value your opinion so i was curious what your take is on him.

      •  fanfor55years says:

        Nope, don’t see Jernigan as a bust at all. In fact, I agree that Reese is not afraid to play poker with Cruz because he thinks Jernigan could get the job done.

        I think many have written Jernigan off simply because he never got a real chance (for good reason….Cruz is REALLY good and has produced so you cannot sit him).

        My talking about Austin was simply as an alternative to Patterson. I wouldn’t take either of them as the #19 pick. If we want a receiver I assume he will be a “developmental” type who will be drafted late.

  3.  Hanshi says:

    Paul and I agree. I said this a few days ago:

    Hanshi says:

    April 2, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    If Cruz has until the 19th, why shouldn’t he wait and if no other teams gives him an offer sheet then sign the Giants deal. I know that’s not what we all want but isn’t that the best thing for him?

    •  rlhjr says:

      Score +1

      At the end of the day, a player has to look out for himself.

      Now back to object silence about all things Cruz!

    •  GOAT56 says:

      That’s true. I think in general Cruz’s situation just creates a lot of emotion. But between the 19th and 25th is when something should get down. If it doesn’t then I think concern would be legit on him signing long term.

    •  Hanshi says:

      I think most people if they were in Cruz’s position would wait until the 19th. Why shouldn’t he wait? He has nothing to lose by waiting and maybe something to gain?

      •  GOAT56 says:

        I don’t blame him for waiting. I just don’t think it will serve any purpose. I would probably look to sign right before the 19th because after that the Giants have the power. A hold out hurts his marketability so more than other players he can’t afford a Vincent Jackson type of hold out.

  4.  GOAT56 says:

    Ralph Vacchiano
    38 minutes ago
    Just made my first pick for the Giants in a 2013 media mock draft. … And with the 19th pick the Giants took …
    … On the board at the time, among others, were Georgia LB Alec Ogletree, Florida State DE Bjoern Werner, Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o, Washington CB Desmond Trufant, Texas S Kenny Vaccaro, and Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert.

    Gone were fan favorites like BYU DE Ziggy Ansah, Alabama G Chance Warmack, Alabama T DJ Fluker, Georgia LB Jarvis Jones and West Virginia WR Tavon Austin.

    My pick:

    Florida State DE Bjoern Werner.

    My explanation: With Osi Umenyiora gone and Justin Tuck on a downward spiral, the Giants need a young pass rusher to take some pressure off Jason Pierre-Paul.

    •  KingAndrewXXIII says:

      Doesn’t mention if Cooper was still on the board or not – which if he is, would be my pick. I like Werner, but of the

      •  KingAndrewXXIII says:

        Damn iPad. I like Werner, but of the names he listed still on the board…I would definitely have went Vaccaro.

        •  kujo says:

          I like Vaccaro, but I’ve heard that there’s an awful lot of parity with the top 4 or 5 safeties in this draft, with Vaccaro being only marginally better than the guys beneath him. Still, I’d be just fine if he’s the pick, as I alluded to below–the defense needs to get better, and there’s just no way that that you can tell me that we’re gonna go from 31st WORST to being all that much better because of the combined talents of Aaron Ross, Terrell Thomas, Dan Connor, Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins. We need to get younger and better at the front and back of this unit, and you really won’t hear any complaints from me if/when we take virtually any DB or DE at #19.

    •  kujo says:

      Been saying Werner for a little over a month now, and I am not backing off. Yes, a road grade interior OL would be great, but there are just far more pressing needs at the premium positions to make such a costly investment at a position that typically finds itself filled with guys taken in rounds 2-5 (or later…or UDFAs).

      Put another way: our defense sucked sweaty donkey taint last year, and was pretty terrible the year before, save for it “clicking” in the playoffs and through the Super Bowl. Yes, Reese took steps to shore up the sieve at the DT spot, and yes, we have added valuable veteran depth in the defensive backfield. But we have done nothing but get weaker at the ideological core of our defense: the pass rush. Osi’s gone, Tuck is looking at becoming Alabama’s Ernest Hemingway, Kiwi’s status–and physical readiness– is up in the air, and JPP is coming off of a down year. Regardless of your views of Ojomo and Tracy, I think it’s safe to say that these guys being doing anything would be the sort of bonus that you just can’t **assume** will be there.

      Thus, it’s just gotta be a DE, unless there’s a truly great CB prospect like Rhodes or Trufant available. Bugger the linebackers, and save the interior OL for the 2nd and 3rd round. Round #1 is for big money ballers. And Werner is going to be the next Jared Allen/Justin Smith.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        I don’t see Werner like that at all. Yes, he’s a white DE but he’s not as good as an athlete as those 2 players. But if we draft him then the team shares your view because we are not drafting a DE who we don’t see as an eventual impact guy. That’s why i don’t like Werner, Jones or Moore at 19.

  5.  kujo says:

    The 2013 G101 Community Mock Off is officially ON! So far we only have 6 entries, so send your 4-round mock drafts to g101mockoff@gmail.com, along with your username. Be sure to include the player’s full name, along with their position and school. The results will be posted–and discussed–draft day!

    **NOTE: If you sent your mock to my personal address, you don’t have to resend it. I’ve already got you on file.

  6.  fanfor55years says:

    Truth be told, I trust the Giants’ draft process so will almost certainly be happy about whomever they pick. I also still think this is a two-year process of getting back into the championship mix (but have some hope for this season thanks to what may be shaping up as an outstanding offense, a strong kicking game, and a better-than-2012 defense).

    There are some fundamental themes to which they have to adhere, and those will shape the next two drafts:

    1) We have a great franchise, big-game, quarterback and he has to be best supported by always trying to run a balanced offense so his deadly play-action game and ability to call audibles at the LOS are made best use of through a season. This requires a balance between a strong receiving corps (always with two serious threats at a minimum and a decent tight end who is a good Red Zone target), a somewhat-better-than-average running game, and a solid offensive line that can protect the QB and has at least two members (one on each side of the line) who can lead run plays for consistent gains in concert with a fullback or blocking tight end, or both;

    2) We must have a “turnover defense” that starts with the ability to stop the run and a dominating pass rush, and ends with the ability to prevent too many “big plays”; and

    3) We must have a solid kicking game in order to win the field position game as frequently as possible.

    Those, I’ll bet, are the fundamentals that every member of the Giants’ brain trust start with as they do their annual evaluations of their players and think about what they need to add. It dictates what the scouts are seeking when they attend games and what Ross and Reese and others are seeking when they look at tape. It dominates game plans.

    It explains why Coughlin is so adamant that back-of-the-roster players contribute on special teams. It explains why they try hard for continuity on the offensive line so the line calls are second nature to the five players up there. It explains why they will ignore perceived need and grab Jason Pierre-Paul and then laugh about it. It explains why they took Kenny Phillips (a potentially great deep center-fielder when he was healthy) with a first pick when safeties were not considered first-pick material. It explains why they have been reluctant to use early picks on linebackers.

    There are myriad implications that flow from the above themes, many of which we’ve seen played out this off-season already. I think as we watch the draft we ought to remember that the picks will fit the theme. I think they have the themes right for today’s NFL. I suspect it will take the next two drafts to get what they want, but we’ll soon see. The great thing is that while this IS a bit of a “rebuild-on-the-fly” they have enough elements that they could manage to field a very strong team while still in that process. I go back to prior to the 2007 season when I was a very lonely voice saying I thought that team would be a championship team in 2008 or 2009. They surprised me by accelerating the process. This team could, very conceivably, do that if they have a great draft and get a little luck. There are some awfully strong teams in the NFC they’d need to get by, but that was certainly true in 2007 too.

    It should be an exciting next 10-11 months.

  7.  norm says:

    I dunno… everything I’ve read about Bjoern Werner indicates he’s not a Ross kinda pick.

    If there’s been any discernable pattern to Ross’ early round draft history, it’s that he seems to give “high ceiling” players better grades than “high floor” players.

    That’s why I never bought into the ever-popular “Giants really wanted Martin but had to settle for Wilson” narrative last year. Doug Martin is the essence of a “high floor” player, i.e. someone whose game is already well-polished, NFL ready but doesn’t figure to get much better. Wilson, OTOH, was still a work in progress when he came out of Va Tech but just oozing with upside.

    Many of Ross’ early round picks fit that same description. JPP, Randle, Prince… I won’t bother to list them all. Nonetheless, I think it’s safe to say that the Giants have taken the untapped potential guy over finished product guy pretty much for as long as Marc Ross has been assembling the draft board.

    The downside of this strategy, of course, is that you sometimes wind up with players like Marvin Austin. At the time he was drafted, even Warren Sapp was awed by Austin’s promise saying, in effect, that he thought Austin had the potential to be everything he (Sapp) once was and more. Well, thus far Austin’s “potential” remains untouched and he’s shown himself to be more sap than Sapp.

    The scouting reports I’ve seen on Werner sure seem to suggest that he falls very much in the “high floor” camp. Of course, I’ve never seen him play a down myself so those reports are all I have to go on. But if the impression formed from my “secondhand scouting” is accurate, then I doubt he’s be a player who would be ranked high on Ross’ board.

    •  F0XLIN says:

      Norm, great point, if anything the other FDU DE Tank Carradine would fall into the Ross description you listed. Not sure he would fall to 48 but considering he has yet to work out there is definitely a possibility.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      +1000

      That’s exactly what I have been trying to convey with Werner but great job in expanding the point. I think JR would even hold that opinion stronger when it comes to a first round DE. That’s what also bothers me about Fluker. He’s a RT only so that leaves little margin for error. If we went OL I see Cooper as much more a JR guy because he’s versatile with great upside. I have long been a proponent of a LB but only Ogletree, Brown or Jones at 19 because those are the only players I see with a possible high ceiling.

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