Potential reward justifies Cruz’s risk

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With the Giants and receiver Victor Cruz continuing to stare each other down, months after the two sides reportedly were close to a new contract, Gary Myers of the New York Daily News offers a team-friendly admonition to Cruz.

If you don’t take the money that’s on the table, you could lose it all by tearing an ACL during the 2013 season.

But Cruz doesn’t need to be reminded of the reality that signing the one-year restricted free agent tender and playing for $2.89 million in 2013 keeps the injury risk squarely on his shoulders for one more year.  He has borne that risk for far less money during the last two season.

There’s risk for the Giants, too.  By not getting Cruz signed over the long term now, they could find themselves having to choose between Cruz and receiver Hakeem Nicks in 2014 — with only one franchise tag available.

And with Cruz arguably being the most popular player currently on the roster, a failure to fairly reward him for two seasons of consistently strong production could cause problems, both outside and inside the locker room.

Besides, Cruz has a way to minimize his risk.  He can hold out until Week 10, sign the restricted free agency tender then, make $1.19 million for the balance of the year (which is much more than he has made in any one season during his career), and then become an unrestricted free agent in 2014 — or get more than $10 million under the franchise tag.

Cruz didn’t make it this far in his career by running from risk.  So to balance out Myers’ advice that Smith should take the money and the security that comes with it, we say this:  Hold out until you get what you deserve, even if that means playing only seven-regular season games for $1.19 million.

35 responses to “Potential reward justifies Cruz’s risk

  1. I think Nicks being a free agent next season is what is really holding up negotiations in regards to Cruz.

    Not a Giants fan but if you can’t get Cruz signed long-term get a 1st round pick and another pick from some team who will.

  2. Not to take anything away from Cruz’s talents, but the Giants have had a pretty good track record with different receivers in recent years. Just like the Steelers and Packers, it seems they can put a very solid receiving corps on the field year in and year out.

  3. Another reason it’s great the union wants to hold back those extra performance based payments to players who outplay their contracts. #sarcasm
    I was (and am) 100% behind players having to have only 3 year deals before they hit unrestricted FA, abolishment of restricted FA altogether AND the restriction of the franchise tag to only one time for that one player by that team. But no, the union didn’t fight for THAT. That would have been GOOD for its members.

  4. Does anyone else feel that Seattle would’ve been smarter to sign Cruz to an offer sheet and just give up a single first rounder instead of trade three picks for Harvin?

  5. Even from a fan’s point of view, it’s tough to blame a guy for not wanting to risk $30 million to play for $2 million.

    If it were me I’d hold out too – not stepping on the field to risk injury until I had to do so

    The Giants front office has to be cognizant of that too.

  6. I do not know what his agent and advisors are whispering in his ear, however, Mr. F. YOUR advice is extremely good and Cruz should not hesitate for one minute to heed and follow it. He need only look into the Jet’s locker room and observe “The Island” rehabbing his ACL to see his future should a similar injury befall him. The more I compare the two, the commonalities I see between football and boxing become more apparent. Participants have limited education, no “real-world ” job skills to fall back on after their all-too-brief careers, leave the sports with lifetime injuries to all body parts, especially the brain, are quickly discarded and forgotten by everyone of their “close and forever buddies” and end up completely broke. Listen to Florio Victor, pro football is a relentless, unforgiving MEAT GRINDER, where loyalty is for suckers, and regardless which choice you make, The Giants are looking for your replacement in the draft or free agent-wise even as I write this post. Lastly, keep in mind you can’t even Salsa on one leg.

  7. The point Myers raises with Smith is a fair one. If the reports of more than 7mil per yr are true, that seems like a fair offer and one that isn’t likely to divide the locker room. Cruz is a great player with a great attitude but also has more than his fair share of drops. He also benefits from being on a team that has an all around good passing game with a franchise quaterback, a number one reciver in Nicks, solid TE play and decent production out of whoever they plug into 3rd receiver spot whether it was Manningham, Hixon or even Barden. It’s not like Larry Fitzgerald playing with nothing around him. Not to take anything away from him but he’s in a situation tha’t able to maximize his abilities. The Giants also aren’t likely to let a single player’s popularity overide sound football decisions as many moves in recent years show.

  8. He worked his way up and he should get paid big why would he care about the organization and what haters call him hold out until you get your money cause one day when you’re hurt and suck they are going to cut you quick and sign another

  9. j0esixpack says:
    Mar 31, 2013 5:04 PM
    Even from a fan’s point of view, it’s tough to blame a guy for not wanting to risk $30 million to play for $2 million.

    If it were me I’d hold out too – not stepping on the field to risk injury until I had to do so

    The Giants front office has to be cognizant of that too.
    I assume the Giants FO is cognizant of that, which is why the Giants offer (reported on PFT) is currently 5 years at $7 million per, with $21 million guaranteed. So at this point, he IS risking $21 million to play for $2 million. The offer is there, but he is choosing not to take it.

  10. So “fdugrad”, it’s better to hold out and play half a season for $1 million to become an URFA than sign the current offer and get yourself a $21 million payday guaranteed, and possibly make $35 million? Interesting financial decision there…

  11. @fdugrad

    Couldn’t agree more. NFL is a business, and a cutthroat one, nobody will care about players once they are done, not the owners, not the fans. People act like players owe something to a certain franchise and yet when a player gets cut for not producing everybody says ‘hey, it’s just business’. So I say to players, go and take all the money you can get and don’t be stupid and play through injuries, squeeze those fat cats for every dime because they will take your last drop of blood if they can.
    I applaud Gaither for he really got it right.

  12. Here’s why loyalty for nfl players no longer exist, sign Cruz to a long term deal that he deserves. It seems when a player tries to get what he is worth everyone screens greed. Perfect case of what the NFL has become, loyalty shown by any player equals weakness.

  13. I think it’s hilarious when teams tell a player(who thinks he so great) what he is really worth. And people say Romo is overpayed!LOLOLOL

  14. I am surprised more players of Cruz’s caliber don’t hold out (or say they will) until week 10 in this type situation… you get credit for he year served.

  15. It’s called an insurance policy. If he suffers a catastrophic injury he gets paid. So whether he gets injured or not, he’s
    Covered and the Giants lose. Terrible advice.

  16. Look at the track record of players that hold out getting injured. Spending that much time out of football shape is just asking for a blown ACL.

  17. The best slot receiver in NFL history was worth “only” $6MM/yr. The best younger version should be worth between $7-8MM.

    That’s what a top Slot receiver is going for these days, and as valuable as slot receivers are they better get used to the fact that they aren’t going to get paid the same money wide outs who average over 15ypc and 8 TDs do

  18. ” By not getting Cruz signed over the long term now, they could find themselves having to choose between Cruz and receiver Hakeem Nicks in 2014 — with only one franchise tag available.”

    Problem is, thats what Cruz is trying to get them to do now. he has 7+ mil a year on the table and is turning his nose at it. Nicks will get 8 mil per year MINIMUM. If Cruz wants 8 to 9, then the Giants can’t afford Nicks next year.
    If Cruz holds out to week 10, he’ll come back afterwards, but it won’t be with the Giants. They’ll trade his ass for another 1st round pick, pay Nicks 8 to 9 mil per, have Randle as the #2 and perhaps draft another slot receiver.

  19. I agree with dirtybird but it wouldn’t only be less picks but less money too. There are 3 ways this could be looked at. A. Seattle really anticipates Harvin to be able to stay on the field and be more valuable to them. B. They made a pkay without fully weighing their options or maybe Bevell was really influential. C. There really is collusion when it comes to RFA. It could even be a combo of those things but it really seems with what was given up for Harvin someone should have at least talked #’s with Cruz’s agent by now

  20. Yo curz, Eli makes you that dam good son! Just look at all the other slot WR that moved on…

  21. With over 7 million on the table for signature, there will come a point when the fans say enough, times up Cruz.

  22. Giants fans can call the guy “just a slot receiver”, or give all the credit to Eli and the fact that Cruz is just a complementary target in that offense, but it doesn’t change the fact that quite a few teams would probably see him as an upgrade to their #1 WR based on his production and big-play ability the last two years, and the fact that he’s still squarely on his prime.

    Dwayne Bowe money if he hit the open market? Maybe not. But probably considerably closer to it than what the Giants are offering now.

  23. I respect the Giants, but good WRs are a dime a dozen. Cruz is good, but not a game changer. Johnson is a game changer. Moss in his prime was a game changer. Bryant could become a game changer.

    But currently I can’t imagine many DC’s sitting awake at night thinking, “How are we gonna stop Victor Cruz?”

    The Giants shouldn’t over think this. Let him walk if he’s not affordable.

  24. I didn’t say they didn’t take him into account in their game plan. Put down the bottle and do a little remedial reading. I said he didn’t scare DCs like Johnson does or Moss did in his prime. Cruz is a good receiver but not a game changer.

    Why should I cancel something I don’t have?

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