Last year, Victor Cruz earned $450,000. In return, the Giants received a franchise record for receiving yardage, with 1,536 yards.
Next year, Cruz is due to make $490,000. He believes he should get more.
Appearing on a special non-live edition of PFT Live, Cruz talked about winning the Vizio Top Value Performer Award, which goes to the NFL player who does the most for the least money. I told Victor that, several weeks ago, finalist Matt Forte said he’d prefer not to be nominated for the award, because it means he’s underpaid. So I asked Victor if he thinks he’s underpaid.
“I think I was paid, you know, relative to where I came in this year and, you know, I came in as a free agent so that’s the salary I was on, so I don’t feel like I was underpaid,” Cruz said. “I mean, I feel like after my performance this year, you know, I feel like I deserve to be paid more money at this point. But that’s something I’ll let my agents and those people take care of and I’ll just go out there and play the game.”
He’s right. And he has every right to speak his mind. Undrafted and strapped in 2010 with a three-year deal that pays minimum base salaries, he has now earned much more than that.
That doesn’t mean he’s destined to become a diva. I’ve interviewed him multiple times now, and Cruz seems like a kid who genuinely appreciates what has happened, understands how he got here, and won’t forget where he came from. But the Giants need to reward him for what he’s done, and for what they’ll undoubtedly be expecting him to do — especially if the team lets Mario Manningham leave via free agency.
The full Cruz interview will be showing up soon in the right rail, by clicking the PFT Live box. The interview also will be posted on iTunes.