New York Giants’ wide receiver Victor Cruz is making a mistake by not accepting the Giants contract offer of $7 million per season.
Last week, Cruz signed his first round tender offer worth about $2.9 million this season, but continues to negotiate a long-term deal with Giants’ general manager Jerry Reese.
Cruz sacrificed much of his leverage by agreeing to the tender because he’s now under contract and expected to be at training camp. Cruz clearly doesn’t intend to hold out for a higher offer otherwise he wouldn’t have signed the tender. The ball is no longer in his court, so to speak.
Should the Giants and Cruz fail to reach a long-term deal, the 26-year-old star will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. At that point, New York will have the option to place the franchise tag on Cruz for the 2014 season, which will pay him roughly $10.5 million, according to the New York Post.
Is that really a road Cruz is willing to go down?
Cruz’s best option is to sign a long-term deal that will keep him in Big Blue for the prime of his career. That’s also the best case scenario for the Giants, who are maneuvering to keep both Cruz and his running mate Hakeem Nicks as part of a dynamic passing offense.
Nicks is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and could command a contract in the range of Mike Wallace’s $60 million deal with the Miami Dolphins.
At the outset of contract talks, Cruz commanded $10-11 million per year, but has since come down from that offer. It’s believed the Giants are willing to pay $7 million per year with $12-15 million in guaranteed money, while Cruz is seeking $15-18 million guaranteed.
It’s best for both sides if Cruz decided to accept the Giants contract offer of $7 million per season. Otherwise, Cruz risks damaging his value this season and costing himself millions.