At various points during the 2012 season, it was believed that the Giants were close to working out a long-term deal with receiver Victor Cruz, an undrafted free agent who has salsaed into the hearts of Giants fans everywhere. Indeed, at one point it seemed that Cruz may have been allowing the potential consequences of a significant injury on his contract situation to creep into his head, DeSean Jackson style.
Once the season ended, it was presumed that a long-term deal rewarding Cruz for his two years of bargain-basement performances would happen soon.
Nearly two months after the season ended, it still hasn’t.
Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News recently took a comprehensive look at the situation. The problem seems to be, as it usually is, that the player wants more than the team is willing to pay for the undrafted free agent who has become one of the best young wideouts in the game.
With the Giants holding the ability to squat on Cruz for one more year via the rules of restricted free agency, Cruz has two choices: (1) play for the inevitable one-year first-round tender he’ll be receiving (at roughly $2.9 million); or (2) not accept the offer and stay away from offseason workouts and preseason and training camp and possibly up to 10 weeks of the regular season.
There’s a third option, if any other team is willing to fashion an offer sheet and part with a first-round pick if the Giants opt not to match. In recent years, however, the RFA market has dried up like a raisin on a mirror at high noon in Ecuador.
Whether or not the lack of interest in restricted free agents amounts to collusion, Cruz can’t count on other teams chasing him.
As Vacchiano points out, however, Cruz over the weekend played the “somewhere else” card when talking about his situation. Whether “somewhere else” would be next year as a free agent or this year as a restricted free agent for which a team drafting late in round one gives up its first-round pick is something about which we’ll know plenty more in the coming weeks.