Remember those reports that teams were champing (yes, it’s champing not chomping) at the bit for a crack at signing receiver Victor Cruz to an offer sheet? There’s a brand new spin on why it didn’t happen.
It’s believed that Cruz, like former Steelers receiver Mike Wallace a year ago, simply wanted too much money. Now, according to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, the reason Cruz didn’t entertain offers elsewhere is that he doesn’t want to leave the Giants.
Per Cole, Cruz wants to stay in New York in order to “take advantage of the business and marketing opportunities he envisions” with Jay-Z’s new marketing company, Roc Nation.While that may make plenty of sense from an off-field dollars-and-cents standpoint, letting it be known that he wants to remain in the concrete jungle where dreams are made of won’t help his leverage in talks with the Giants. If the Giants know Cruz wants to stay in New York, the Giants have no reason to increase their offer of $7 million or so per year. (Cruz reportedly wants more than $10 million annually.) And Cruz, whom many believe is viewed by the team as less valuable than Hakeem Nicks, becomes destined to make less than Nicks over the long haul.
That won’t go over well with CAA, the agency that now represents Cruz via their mutual relationship with Jay-Z. CAA isn’t used to doing bad deals, and CAA can’t be happy with the idea that Cruz is hurting his leverage by making it known he doesn’t want to leave the Giants.
Looking at the situation more broadly, the representation of New York athletes by Jay-Z could end up helping the players’ teams. If the players think a relationship with Jay-Z can help them make more money via other business ventures, the players may take less money from their primary employers. That could help the teams be more competitive, by being able to pay less to keep quality players who are tied to Jay-Z.
And in the inherently cutthroat universe of NFL agents, it quickly becomes the Jay-Z/CAA Achilles heel. No matter how strong of a closer Jay-Z will be, other agents will argue that Jay-Z will advise players he represents on New York teams to take below-market deals in order to stay in New York.The only way for Jay-Z and CAA to fight that perception will be to take a high-profile player out of New York. If that happens, it apparently won’t be Victor Cruz.