Depressed free-agency market could make Cruz more inclined to wait

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For Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders, the opportunity to score a multi-year contract as a restricted free agent makes sense, since he most likely wouldn’t be one of the top targets in free agency in 2014.

For Giants receiver Victor Cruz, a different analysis applies.  With most teams not paying as much in free agency as they used to and with Cruz quite likely the Mike Wallace of next year’s free-agency foray, it doesn’t make sense to take anything other than a Wallace-style payday now.

Given that the team signing Cruz will have to also give up a first-round pick if the Giants don’t match the offer, it’s less likely that anyone will put together the kind of offer that will prompt Cruz to bite.  Especially since he’s now represented by CAA.

Even if Cruz gets the franchise tag from the Giants, next year’s version of this year’s $10.54 million franchise tender could be better than the kind of offers Cruz could get now, during one of the worst free-agency periods since the NFL embraced real free agency in 1993.

There’s another dynamic to keep in mind.  With both Cruz and Hakeem Nicks due to become free agents in 2014, each will be reluctant to go first in re-signing with the Giants, since the second one will try to get more than the first.

In the end, the Giants may have to choose between the two players like the Steelers did between Antonio Brown and Wallace, and the thinking is that, indeed, G.M. Jerry Reese prefers Nicks to Cruz.  But whether Cruz gets tagged or walks in 2014, he’ll likely do a lot better as an unrestricted free agent next year than he’ll do as a restricted free agent now.

If, of course, he stays healthy.

22 responses to “Depressed free-agency market could make Cruz more inclined to wait

  1. He can legitimately demand a Harvin/Wallace-style contract based on his production. Seeing as the Seahawks already pulled off a deal similar to RFA-move in trading for Harvin, I wouldn’t count out some team going after Cruz.

  2. It all works out in the end!
    Victor remains a Giant and remembers who gave him a chance?

  3. these athletes betting on themselves to stay healthy are all insane and the majority will regret it. Any time you can take guaranteed money on any sort of long term contract you take it. I don’t care if its under market value. That is, unless you are as intelligent as I, and understand completely and whole heartedely that exercise without a complete and optimal mineral supplementation plan is suicide. Dead athletes don’t lie and injured ones prove this endlessly. Don’t take my word though, look up what theo ratliff says about minerals and his career.

  4. It is not just Jerry Reese that prefers Nicks to Cruz. Tom Coughlin, Kevin Gilbride, the front office and even Eli if forced to chose will go with number 88 (if he remains healthy).

  5. Wes Welker was the best slot receiver in NFL history and HE only managed a 2 year $12MM deal. Clearly the NFL powers don’t value the slot receiver position even close to that of the best slot guys in the league.

    It should make clearer why the Giants were having such a difficult time getting a deal done with him. He’d have plenty of suitors, given his age and success, but he’s never going to command the kind of money that guys like Bowe and Wallace are getting.

    My guess is there are plenty of teams that will give him a long term deal of around $8MM/yr with half guaranteed and an 10-12MM signing bonus. But he’s not going to get the $10-12MM/yr he’s looking for. I’m not saying that its right. It just is what it is, and he should deal with it.

  6. Mike, it should be clear even to you, that no team is going to give up a #1 draft choice, PLUS pay a player a premium contract to get them from FA.

    A 2nd round pick will be rare, and I’m pretty sure the Pats would be looking at Emmanuel Sanders, if he’d been tendered at more than a 3rd….and even then, they are wavering and might not do it.

    The Pats got lucky and got good value from the Welker deal with Miami, but the way salaries are have exploded, plus the value you can get with a draft pick because of the rookie salary cap, RFA is pretty much a joke…..unless the tender lower than the 2nd round.

  7. I love how a guy is from the area and he dances a little dance and everybody loves him so that when he becomes an RFA he’s all of a sudden the second coming of Jerry Rice and everybody forgets he had a ridiculous amount of drops last year. But I’m sure there’s a feel-good story and good excuse for it.

  8. Slot receivers take too much punishment to invest a long term high dollar contract. They are also relatively easy to develop {see Steve Smith} compared to outside receivers like Hicks. I like Cruz a lot and think hes a hell of a player and great story but I don’t he will see much more than 3/18mill with 9mill guaranteed.

  9. The market has been very strong for receivers this off-season. Bowe, Wallace, Jennings, Harvin and Amendola all received top dollar. I do not think a so-called, “depressed market” is why Cruz might not receive a huge contract this off-season, it likely has a lot more to do with a lack of teams willing to surrender a 1st round pick for a wideout.

  10. I hate the giants but I honestly have to say I respect them

    But with that being said how could you not like Cruz as a NFL fan??? Dude is all heart with game to back it up!!!

  11. Cruz>Harvin. Harvin is more multi-dimensional and dangerous but Cruz is more consistent and actually on the field. Coming from a guy that HATES Cruz.. I respect his game though

  12. Forgot to say that even though I think Cruz is better, I also think Harvin is grossly overpaid for a guy that averages out to playing only 50% of his teams snaps

  13. Note to Bill Belichick: Think that there’s anyone better than UMass grad Cruz that you can draft in the latter part of the first round? Exactly.

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