Valentine's Views: Let's talk wide receivers

Elsa

The Giants want to keep both Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks long-term. In today's Valentine's Views Ed wonders if they really can -- or if they even need to.

I have been thinking a lot about the futures of the New York Giants pair of talented wide receivers recently, and the more I mull it over the more I am convinced that between Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks only one of them ends up with a long-term future in the Meadowlands.

The fact that Cruz signed his one-year tender offer on Friday did nothing to change my mind. The tender does nothing to secure the salsa-dancing star's long-term future in New York. By signing it all Cruz really did was take a weapon away from the Giants in the negotiations, since the Giants could have reduced the tender to $630,000 on Monday's without Cruz's John Hancock.

Cruz told ESPN that he would continue trying to negotiate a long-term deal with the Giants, and my gut tells me that I will be surprised if Cruz doesn't sign a rich new deal before the 2013 season starts.

Cruz, according to most reports, wants at least $9 million annually. Per Over The Cap, there are 12 wide receivers who currently make at least that much. Most reports have indicated the Giants are offering somewhere around $8 million. I find it hard to believe the two sides can't or won't bridge that gap over the next couple of months.

The Giants know what Cruz means to them and have already expressed the willingness to make him the game's highest-paid slot receiver.

From the Cruz perspective, it seems unimaginable that he and agent Tom Condon would go the Steve Smith route over what seems like a relatively small difference. Whether it's $8 million or $9 million over, say, four or five years Cruz will be a very, very rich man. And that is long before you count his considerable endorsement and off-the-field earning power. I can't believe that, like Smith did, they would leave big money on the table and take the HUGE risk of actually playing the season for the tender amount.

So, whether or not the Giants or anyone else considers Cruz their No. 1 or No. 2 receiver, I see him as being relatively certain to have a long-term future with the Giants.

I'm not so sure about Nicks.

Most people do consider Nicks to be the Giants true No. 1 receiver. He plays on the outside and generally draws the double teams. Joel Corry speculated recently that whatever annual salary the Giants sign Cruz to will only be a starting point for negotiations with Nicks. That means Nicks would likely be seeking a salary of $10 million or more annually.

The Giants' position all along has been that they WANT both players to stay long term. There are, however, only seven receivers in the NFL making more than $10 million per year. Does Nicks really belong in that club? He is undoubtedly a terrific player when healthy. In four seasons, however, he has never played 16 games, never caught more than 79 passes and has double-figure touchdowns in a season just once. Not that it really means a lot, but he has also never gone to the Pro Bowl.

For me, if Nicks wants elite wide receiver money the 2013 season needs to be the healthiest and most productive of his career. He needs to be dominant.

There is also the Rueben Randle factor. The 6-foot-2, 208-pound Randle has the size and skill set that are reminiscent of Nicks, and if he shows the Giants in 2013 that he could be a 70-80 catch receiver who can command a double team that lessens the team's urgency to sign Nicks to an expensive contract.

So, even though Cruz settled at least one issue by signing his tender the future of the two wide receivers will continue to be a back story for the Giants throughout the 2013 season.

Quick Hits
  • Hating on David Diehl is a popular fan occupation. The guy has tremendous value to the Giants, though. Even if he he does not start, he can be a plug and play veteran backup at four positions who already has thorough knowledge of the offense. Where else are you going to find that?
  • Loved Dennis Esser's breakdown on Friday of David Wilson and Andre Brown. Even if you aren't into Fantasy Football there is a lot of good information and analysis in there.
  • After all these years New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan still doesn't get it. His "I'm a hell of a lot better football coach than I'm given credit for,"comment the other day shows insecurity, shows that he's still putting himself and his reputation ahead of his team, and shows that he still hasn't learned that some things are better left unsaid.
Coming Up At Big Blue View

We are in the dead period between mini-camp and training camp, but that doesn't mean there won't be plenty to read here at Big Blue View. There are a ton of stories that came out of mini-camp that we haven't done yet. Those will be coming in the days ahead. I am also planning to begin a special series for you. So, keep reading.

Non-Football Thoughts
  • I want to root for the Brooklyn Nets. I really do. With the hiring of Jason Kidd as head coach, though, I just can't. The Nets have turned themselves into the NBA version of the New York Jets -- putting headlines, radio talk show chatter and attention-grabbing moves ahead of what really matters -- winning.
  • Game 5 of the NBA Finals is Sunday night. The series is tied 2-2 and this is the final game in San Antonio as the 2-3-2 format puts the last two games in Miami. The Spurs have to win Sunday to have a realistic chance at the title.
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