The New York Giants have many free agents they’ll need to talk about before free agency starts in March. The Giants will definitely look to lock up the ones who can be productive down the line, but they’ll have to sacrifice and let those who have been productive thus far walk. However, there is no secret that the biggest free agent target for the Giants is WR Victor Cruz.
Cruz has been productive in his first two seasons of action, catching at least 80 passes for over 1,000 yards in both seasons. Cruz’s first season was actually in 2010, when he was able to make the team despite being an undrafted free agent. Cruz missed all of the 2010 season due to injury, but we first saw flashes of brilliance in his very first game in uniform, a preseason game against the New York Jets that opened up MetLife Stadium.
Cruz was making one-handed catches and making defenders miss on his way to scoring multiple touchdowns and immediately endearing himself to Giants’ fans. Giants’ fans were hoping to see him in action in 2010, but injuries and roster depth kept him away.
With the loss of WR Mario Manningham to free agency last off-season, the Giants have to do what it takes to keep Cruz. Manningham allowed Cruz to line up and work effectively from the slot as Manningham lined up on the outside. Cruz has had to line up on the outside and in the slot as the Giants were unable to find a valuable receiver to line up on the outside.
Reports have it that Cruz will most likely command $8 – $10 million a season. The Giants may not want to pay that much, but will most likely have no other choice. Locking up Cruz with a four or five-year deal at $8 million a season isn’t really too bad. The Detroit Lions are paying WR Calvin Johnson $16.5 million roughly a season. That’s call handicapping a team’s flexibility.
After the new collective bargaining agreement was settled upon, the Giants were one of the teams who needed to shed salary in order to get under. The Giants will continue to battle these issues as long as they continue to draft quality players. Cruz, however, is someone that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible.