Monday, March 11, 2013
Potential suitors for Cruz
By Tim Kavanagh
On Friday, we pondered the potential outcome if the New York Giants elected only to place a first-round RFA tender on WR Victor Cruz, as opposed to signing him to a multi-year deal. As of Monday, there have been significant developments on this front.
The Giants have, as assumed, placed the first-round RFA tender on Cruz, according to team owner John Mara, via Jenny Vrentas of the Star-Ledger. In addition, Mara had some pointed words for Cruz as he ponders whether or not to sign offer sheets from other teams around the league. "I think Victor is smart enough to realize that he belongs in this area," Mara said, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. "I think he's done very well for himself off the field. He's a very popular player here. He's had a lot of off the field opportunities. So hopefully all those other things will enter into his consideration."
It's true that the off-field promotional opportunities may not be as lucrative in any other market. And Cruz may take that into some consideration, though it won't be the only deciding factor -- it also helps that he's developed a strong relationship with Giants franchise QB Eli Manning, of course.
As for the other intriguing development, as you might've heard, the Minnesota Vikings are now the owners of an extra first-round pick this offseason, thanks to their sending Percy Harvin to Seattle. The Vikes could keep both of those picks, or they could develop an offer sheet that the Giants couldn't afford, willing to send one of those picks to New York if they choose not to match. So while last week the Giants only had to worry about the St. Louis Rams poaching Cruz, there's another possible suitor in the mix in Minnesota.
Or maybe not, in the opinion of ESPN NFC East blogger Dan Graziano:
Dan GrazianoMara, Cruz and public negotiating
"Basically, I wouldn't put too much stock into anything the team owner says in a situation like this. What Mara said about Cruz today was obviously designed to try to get public sentiment on the side of the team as it negotiates with (and probably lowballs) a very popular player. I also wouldn't worry too much about another team swooping in and giving the Giants a first-round pick for Cruz -- even the Vikings, who have an extra one after today's Percy Harvin trade. Mike Wallace was a restricted free-agent wide receiver a year ago and generated no interest at all, and this year he'll be one of the highest-paid free agents on the market. The RFA market just isn't a real thing. Teams prize those first-round picks too much. So in the end, I still think this Cruz deal with the Giants get done. The fact that Mara's saying so much out loud about it -- a week after coach Tom Coughlin was spouting pretty much the same company line -- indicates that it's been tougher than the team expected it to be. That could be because of unreasonably high demands from Cruz, but it could just as easily be because of an unreasonably low offer from the Giants."