Victor Cruz of the New York Giants and Jeremy Lin are both underdog stories that became popular phenomenon in the past calendar year. Both came out of nowhere to have starring roles on New York teams. Cruz was undrafted, missed all of 2010 with a hamstring injury and then rose to stardom, salsaing his way along with the Giants, to the Super Bowl. Lin was waived by three teams and almost waived by the New York Knicks, before coming out of nowhere to help guide the Knicks to the playoffs before injuring his knee. Now it’s very possible the Knicks won’t match the offer the Houston Rockets made to Lin and he will take his talents to Houston. The Giants need to lock up Cruz before he takes his talents elsewhere.
Free agency in the NFL is a little different than the NBA. They both have restricted free agency, but there isn’t any “poison pill” offer like the Rockets gave to Lin. However, both Lin and Cruz galvanized their fan bases. Cruz came from Umass which isn’t exactly a football powerhouse. Lin came from Harvard which is known more for presidents than professional athletes. As their stories grew, both became bigger and bigger celebrities, each with their own signature play. Cruz had his against the New York Jets with his 99 yard touchdown reception in a game that saved the Giants playoff hopes and turned around their season. Lin had his on Valentine’s Day against the Toronto Raptors with a game winning three point shot where his teammates mobbed him on the floor after.
Anytime you can sign and cultivate your own talent, especially in football, it puts you at an advantage. The Giants are in that spot with Cruz. The way the free agent market is, especially for wide receivers, the price is just going to go up. Why not lock a guy in, who definitely wants to be in New York, long term. Yes there is some risk involved with him because he’s only done it for a year. On the flip side, if he has a similar year this year, it’s going to be that much harder to keep him.
The Giants should lock Cruz up to a contract. If they let it play out more, they may have their own fan petitions to keep him like the Knicks do with Lin. Everyone loves an underdog story. The Knicks may let their underdog fly away. It would be in the Giants best interest not to.