When Giants receiver Victor Cruz signs his new contract, which will happen later today or on Tuesday, he’ll immediately earn just under $10 million.
Not bad for a guy who was undrafted, and who spent most of his rookie season injured.
The guaranteed money, reported by Jay Glazer of FOX to be $15.6 million, will become fully guaranteed on July 27, per a source with knowledge of the terms of the deal. For now, all but $1.5 million of the guaranteed money is fully guaranteed (skill, injury, cap). The remaining $1.5 million is guaranteed for only skill and injury, for now.
The new money is $43 million over five years, for an average of $8.6 million annually. Factoring in the one-year, $2.879 million restricted free agency tender, Cruz will make $45.879 million over six years, with an average of $7.64 million over the six years.
While Cruz was aiming higher, the dynamics of the free-agency market helped keep the number at a more reasonable level. Slot receivers aren’t making much money, and Cruz has made the bare minimum in three NFL seasons. He now shifts the injury risk to the Giants, giving him a huge payday that he wouldn’t have gotten if he’d suffered a serious injury during the 2013 season, like former Giants slot receiver Steve Smith once did.
Speaking of Smith, the Giants’ ability to move from him to Mario Manningham to Victor Cruz suggests that the quarterback, Eli Manning, has had a key role in Cruz’s performance. Without Manning, Cruz may not be the same player. Without Cruz, the Giants arguably could find another guy to do what Cruz has done.
The other reality for Cruz is that, in New York, he can earn plenty of money off the field. Per a source with knowledge of the discussions, estimates have been calculated at as much as $3 million per year. Even at half that amount, Cruz would push his annual income above $9 million.
Not bad for a Jersey kid who played at UMass and was completely overlooked in the 2010 draft.