Victor Cruz prepares for restricted free agency

AP

With the new labor deal utilizing mandatory four-year contracts for all drafted players, restricted free agency will become relevant in the future only when an undrafted player (or when a player cut from his rookie contract) finishes his three season in the league and has no contract.

The biggest name this year falling into that category, by far, is Giants receiver Victor Cruz.  And with the new labor deal limited the maximum compensation for a restricted free agent to a single first-round draft pick (down from a one and a three), the question becomes whether the Giants will expose Cruz to the possibility that someone will sign him to an offer sheet the Giants can’t or won’t match.

Per Albert Breer of NFL Network, use of the first-round tender for a restricted free agent resulted in a one-year, non-guaranteed salary of $2.879 million.  The Giants also could choose to apply the franchise tag, which would increase the compensation to a pair of first-round picks — but which also would increase the one-year tender toward $10 million, guaranteed.

The Giants may be safe to stick with the maximum RFA tender.  Based on the lack of interest in restricted free agents like Mike Wallace last year, there’s reason to at least suspect that teams have opted to not pilfer these three-year players.  If no one pursues Cruz, it arguably could be proof of collusion among the various clubs.

Of course, a team will have to be willing to give up a first-round pick and plenty of money to sign Cruz to an offer sheet.  Even then, there’s a chance the Giants will match.

If he becomes available, the Giants likely don’t have to worry about a division rival whom Cruz burned for a long, game-winning touchdown.  Thanks to $36 million in cap penalties orchestrated in part by Giants co-owner John Mara, the Redskins have the cash but most likely not the cap space to fire a missile for Cruz.

57 responses to “Victor Cruz prepares for restricted free agency

  1. Redskins don’t need to focus on offense anyway, it needs to be DEFENSE this off-season, unless of course we get back the cap.space that was wrongfully taken from us. If that happens, I’d rather have Mike Wallace or Dwayne Bowe over Cruz. We need more size then speed, we already have plenty of speed in receivers, but a big bodied guy to go along with Garcon, Morgan, Hankerson and Moss would make this a ridiculous receiving core.

  2. Or perhaps it’s just proof that NFL teams don’t think Mike Wallace and/or Victor Cruz are worth both the big money contracts that they were (or will be) demanding and a first round draft pick! Must you see a conspiracy in everything. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Unlike Wallace, Cruz will sign a longterm deal with the Giants, it’s just a question of whether it will happen before or after the beginning of free agency.

  3. I don’t understand that last part. Why would the redskins have any interest in Cruz to begin with? They already have a lot of money ties up at the WR position and a few young guys developing as well

  4. Giving up a 1st round pick plus paying for a RFA isn’t a good deal for any team.

    A first round pick should be a starter from day one, and with a rookie deal will be cheap for his first 4-5 years in the league. Why give that up for a more expensive starter?

  5. The Skins?????

    just trowing names out their?

    if they put a claim on Cruz what are they going to give up a 1st round pick for the 2015 season?

    remember Skins (1st) picks are owned by the Rams

  6. Bye-bye, Bowe, it was fun while it lasted.

    On other note, think Cruz’ salsa dance would fit with the arrowhead chop? MMmmm….

  7. I don’t know how this article could even entertain the possibility that the Redskins pick up Cruz. Washington does not have a number one draft pick for the next 2 years.

  8. The only reason the Niners did not sign Wallace was because of collusion. Instead they draft AJ Jenkins and sign Randy Moss. Lack of a deep threat may be the difference against NE in the Super Bowl.

  9. With the Rookie salary cap, it is insane to give up a 1st round pick for the right to make a huge big money bid for a player.

  10. The GIANTS will re-sign him. He fits in with them, and they will take care of him. The GIANTS always take care of their key guys. They never let their key guys walk if they don’t want them to.

    The GIANTS will be in the mix again next year, and are a known quantity for Cruz.

    They’ll get him locked up.

  11. Oh what a sad world would it be. Imagine if Cruz was signed by another team. No Chunky soup commercials… Oh wait that is a good thing!

  12. Cruz is a talent, but nobody wants to pay him and give up a first round pick when there are other big WR FAs who are unrestricted:

    Wes Welker
    Mike Wallace
    Dwayne Bowe
    Greg Jennings

  13. mariorat says: New England could be an option

    I doubt it. Now that there is a rookie salary cap, Belichick is no longer averse to using first round picks in the draft. Plus, I think he views receivers as “shiny hood ornaments” (Kerry Bryne’s phrase), nice to have but not worth enough to the team to risk overpaying.

  14. Your snarky little comment about the Redskins and Victor Cruz is just that. The Skins have no reason to go after a WR this off-season, cap penalty or not.

  15. Rams could give up a first for him. The money is either going to him or Amendola, and Danny is too fragile. Then they would use the second first for OL help or a safety.

  16. Mariorat you beat me to it. A UMass kid coming to the Patriots to replace Welker for a very late (hopefully #32) first rounder would be a steal for them. Plus, the role Cruz played in the Newtown tragedy would greatly appeal to the Krafts and Pats fans. Don’t want to loose Welker but if we did Cruz would be the ideal replacement.

  17. I would love to see the Texans grab him, but they don’t have the cash; plus Schaub already has 5 receivers to underthrow to…

  18. Can’t wait to see the look on all the Giants fans faces when Cruz gets swiped by another team. Keep that confidence up fans it will just be funnier when a better team scoops him up.

  19. He wont be as good on another team. Product of the system like others before him. Buyer beware. My guess is he signs reasonable deal with Giants.

  20. rtant2013 says:
    Jan 15, 2013 5:19 PM
    I’d rather have Mike Wallace or Dwayne Bowe over Cruz. We need more size then speed, we already have plenty of speed in receivers, but a big bodied guy to go along with Garcon, Morgan, Hankerson and Moss would make this a ridiculous receiving core.

    Um, Wallace is more size than speed?? Wallace is not bigger than Cruz. In fact, Cruz is officially listed as a it bigger than Wallace. In any case, while both are bigger than most think, neither is known for their size.

  21. Redskins do not have a 1st round draft pick so they couldnt sign him. Also how about the chance the Giants sign him before free agency? Duh

  22. suite34 says:
    Jan 15, 2013 5:34 PM
    The only reason the Niners did not sign Wallace was because of collusion. Instead they draft AJ Jenkins and sign Randy Moss. Lack of a deep threat may be the difference against NE in the Super Bowl.

    ———————————-

    They have a deep threat: Colin Kaepernick

  23. Wallace was a third, cruz undrafted…

    Theres numerous examples around the league of late round WRs (not too unlike RBs) becoming big contributors.

    Maybe owners dont think paying a 1 and 3 for a player they could get in any round (or undrafted) is worth it…and dont forget about the huge contract you’ll then be paying them.

    Remember NYG Steve Smith? He had big numbers in (i believe) Cruz’s current spot, and now he’s dropped off the face of the earth after the giants didnt even care to resign him. Maybe its not all about the player, and more about how they use him.

    Look at welker…unless he’s in a NE style short quick offense, he’s pretty useless…nowhere near a top WR in the league, but his numbers are consistently close to the top. And speaking of welker, wasnt he undrafted as well?

    Im sorry, but if im an owner, im only paying a 1 and 3 + big contract for Calvin Johnson and AJ Green. Fitz and Andre Johnson are getting too old to be worth that much.

    Collusion? Maybe they just arent idiots…

  24. No urgency to sign him long term. They will RFA him and see if there’s a sucker out there willing to give up a precious no. 1 who we can turn into another 4yr indentured servant like JPP, Nicks and Wilson. If not, we match something lower than we would have paid anyway. No need to bid against yourself. This coming from someone who’d rather see Cruz retire a Giant.

  25. @stiller – Giants offered Steve Smith a huge extension following his 100+ catch year but Smith turned it down, tore an ACL and the rest is history. If anything, the Smith may have scared the Giants from tying up huge money in Cruz.

  26. @jooceman

    I wasn’t really talking about Wallace as far as size, of course he’s more speed then size. I was just pointing out I’d rather them get Wallace or Bowe over Cruz. I didn’t think Cruz was bigger then Wallace though, Wallace looks bigger then Cruz but I don’t keep up with every players height. It really doesn’t matter, the Skins aren’t going to go after a reciever, not a need and they don’t have the cap (thanks to a cheating giants owner). I would be shocked if they added anyone on offense this off-season, their defense was clearly their weakness, however we never saw how the entire starting D would play together. I do think they’ll make an effort to get Cromartie if the Eagles don’t resign him.

  27. I guess since there has not been a giants article in almost two weeks you have to throw together this gossip. Cruz does not leave the Giants. Its nonsense.

  28. Cruz replace Welker?

    He’d be on IR by week 3 taking the kind of shots Welker takes.

    We’ll pass on the dance.

  29. Could he end up bringing his talents to South Beach? That would be perfect for Phins fans, with the salsa dance and all.

  30. I think the Skins will focus more on a CB or Safety in FA..For the debate of Wallace and Cruz, my opinion is Wallace have more straight line speed,but Cruz run better routes..HTTR

  31. Just remember, everyday that goes by is another day closer to RGIII back on the field healthy, smarter, and more focused. The last thing we need is to spend big money on Victor Cruz. Cousins lead Skins are like a Schaub lead Texans. Playoff bound. RGIII back after the Bye and nobody stops us for at least 5 years. Bank on it.

  32. The biggest part of this story that went unmentioned is that if Cruz leave the Giants, the NFL surely will no longer allow him to have his own theme music from NBC.

  33. LOLing at all the patriots fans thinking they might get Cruz. I’d want him to if he laid waste to my team in the Super Bowl.
    Bottom line is Cruz will be dancing his way to an extension and torching secondary’s for years to come.
    Now if he could just learn to catch before running he’d be top 5.
    Oh yeah and Wallace isn’t on his level neither is Bowe.
    And I hope the skins pick up Bowe. It’ll be another overhyped pickup like deangelo hall and oh what’s that hall of famers name?….oh yeah ALBERT HAYNSEWORTH LOL

  34. You Redskins fans crack me up. Never cease to amaze me.

    Cruz is not going anywhere. That goes to the Patriot fans, Cowboy fans or a fan from any other team.

    The Giants are not the type of organization that will let a Pro Bowl caliber player in his early 20’s just walk away.

    They’ll either tag him or give him his new contract.

  35. Everyone calm down
    Victor will remain a Giant for many reasons

    First off the Giants will not let him go he is a great WR and a fan fav.
    There would be a war in the meadowlands if victor is not back.

    Second Victor would not have as many chances to make all the off the field money that he does as the fan fav in the biggest market in the world.

    Last but far from least the Giants are a class act and will make sure that they take care of one of there own.

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