Did Giants receiver Victor Cruz break the bank on his new contract? No. Did he end up with far more money than he ever should have earned in the NFL after being passed over 255 times in the 2010 draft? Absolutely.
Cruz has made the ultimate climb from undrafted receiver to highly-paid starter, in only three seasons. Could he have gotten more on the open market? Probably. (Before this year’s free-agency debacle, the answer would have been “definitely.”) Am I going to keep asking questions and then answering them? No. Basically, Cruz did what he had to do to shift the injury risk to the team and to emerge with enough money to carry him through the next five or six decades of his life, assuming he’s smart and careful with the cash.
The important thing to remember is that the Giants had the ability to squat on Cruz through 2014, at $2.879 million this year and the franchise tag next year. At $10.35 million in 2013, Cruz’s two-year fully-guaranteed haul of $15.6 million undoubtedly exceeds what he would have been paid over the next two years, if the Giants had tagged him.
Throw in the possibility of significant New York marketing dollars, and Cruz did what any guy who never was supposed to get big money would do — especially since a torn ACL or a ruptured Achilles tendon would have derailed everything, like it did for former Giants receiver Steve Smith. Cruz took the deal, and he put the stress of seeing his shot at getting paid disappear on any given Sunday behind him, for good.
So it’s a win for the Giants and a win for Cruz, who if he remains healthy and effective will pocket more than $45 million over the next six seasons. No matter what happens, he’ll make $15.6 million.