Giants receiver Victor Cruz continues to look for a load of chips to go with his salsa.
A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the Giants and Cruz continue to talk, but that the process is “moving slowly.” Talks are expected to resume this week.
Cruz, who has not yet signed a one-year, $2.879 million restricted free agency tender, has been staying away from the team’s offseason workouts as he pursues a long-term deal. He reportedly wants more than $10 million per year; the Giants at last word were in the $7 million annual range.
The next pressure point comes on June 17, when the Giants can rescind his tender offer and replace it with a 10-percent raise over his 2012 salary of $540,000, which equates to $594,000. Doing so would likely inflame the situation, causing Cruz possibly to hold out through Week 10 of the regular season, sign the tender, finish the year, and become an unrestricted free agent in 2014.
While the Giants could then keep him in place with the franchise tag, the franchise tag would pay Cruz $10 million or more for one year. And it could force the Giants to choose between Cruz and receiver Hakeem Nicks, whose rookie contract expires after the coming season.
The Cruz-Nicks conundrum surely has cast a shadow over the ongoing talks. Nicks, who plays the more valuable position of outside receiver, will want to get significantly more than Cruz, a slot receiver. Thus, paying Cruz a lot now could mean paying Nicks a lot more later.
At some point, the Giants may decide to keep only one of them, and to trust that they can develop another player who’ll catch passes from Eli Manning into a significant performer.