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By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
On Monday, July 8th the New York Giants and wide receiver Victor Cruz agreed to a contract extension to keep the Salsa Dance with the Giants. The contract agreed to is a six-year deal through the 2018 season and worth $46 million. $15.625 of it will be guaranteed the first two years of the deal and will have a $9.5 million signing bonus and $1.5 million roster bonus given to him the first day of the 2014 league year.
Cruz, who skipped the Giants OTA’s and only signed his first-round restricted free agent tender after mandatory minicamp completed said he was relieved to finally have his contract situation resolved. “It was fun to finally get it done with. I was smiling from ear to ear the whole time; I couldn’t stop grinning. Good to put my ink on that piece of paper and feel good about it and feel confident about it and get back to football.”
Cruz knew the whole time that he wanted to stick with the Giants. The Paterson, New Jersey native could not picture himself playing for any other team in the NFL. “There was never a time where I thought I wouldn’t be a Giant. It was just a matter of time, if I was going to be with them for one year or six. I’ll take the six right now, obviously.”
Cruz’s agent said that no other team had called to give an offer to the restricted free agent, but Cruz said it wouldn’t have mattered. He didn’t want to play anywhere else and now his family is financially set for the rest of their lives.
Cruz has had two monster seasons with the Giants, putting up back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons and 19 touchdowns. His rookie year he actually set the Giants franchise record for receiving yards in a season, going for 1,536 yards and earning a second team All-Pro honor and a spot on the Pro Bowl team this past season.
Cruz has cemented himself as a top tier wide receiver in the NFL and possibly the best slot receiver in the league. Getting him in the fold for the next six years has to make Eli Manning happy as he has his safety net in place.
This was an important signing for the Giants as they can now concentrate on matters on the field unlike past seasons. It seems every year the Giants go through camp with contract questions heading into the season so this is a nice change to have. The next contract resolution needed will be for the Giants other wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. Nicks is in line for a new contract after the season and getting a deal done with him will be just as important if not more as getting one with Cruz.
Getting Cruz’s contract extension done this season helps the Giants in negotiating with Nicks but not from a money standpoint. Nicks and Cruz are two totally different players and the money Nicks gets will solely be based on his he is healthy or not this season. Where the Cruz signing helps is that they will have both on the team for at least the next two seasons and having them together long term is much easier to do now.
Next offseason instead of choosing between the two who to talk to, the Giants can put all their focus on Nicks with Cruz already extended. They can put the franchise tag on Nicks without risking the chance of Cruz walking so that they can hammer out a deal; more times than often the Giants franchise a player not to hold them hostage but be able to talk extension with them without another team butting in.
All in all the Cruz signing is positive on every front for the Giants; they got a top receiver in the NFL on the team for many seasons to come and it makes their life easier next season when negotiating with another top receiver in Nicks.