At its core, the NFL a business. When a player is in “frustrating” contract negotiations, a team will quickly seek to find a potential fill in. Former New York Giants wide receiver Steve Smith was once Eli Manning’s favorite target. Once he left as a result of contract talks gone wrong, the team looked to then unknown wide receiver Victor Cruz as a replacement.
Despite Cruz’s renown in the greater New York area, it seems as though he and the Giants’ brass are $4 million apart in contract negotiations. Cruz’s production has been on par with the elite wideouts in the NFL over the past two years, but an annual salary of $11 Million is steep for a slot receiver. The demands seem even more extravagant when Denver Broncos wide receiver, Wes Welker—arguably the best slot receiver in the business—recently inked a contract that is meager in comparison to Cruz’s demands.
Enter Julian Edelman, the former New England Patriots wide receiver who paid a visit to the Giants. While there is no confirmed source about how serious the contract talks were, it is clear that New York is preparing for the worst. Edelman showed flashes of brilliance with the Patriots- on special teams and in the slot, primarily. But, to say that he would be a worthy replacement for Cruz is somewhat hyperbolic.
Will Cruz be Big Blue’s version of the Miami Dolphins’ Mike Wallace? They both are dynamic playmakers who seek to cash in on their remarkable talents in the early stages of their careers. Only time will tell if Cruz, like Wallace, continues his Pro Bowl caliber playing elsewhere.