It certainly does not sound like Victor Cruz and the New York Giants are going to come to a long-term agreement anytime soon. Giants' co-owner John Mara made it obvious today that the team isn't going to simply give the talented wide receiver a blank check.
"We certainly want him back, but like with any player, there's a limit to where we’re going to go," Mara said. "He's been a terrific player for us, he’s a fan favorite, he does a lot for our franchise, but there is a limit."
Mara made clear that there is a limit with any player, because of the salary cap and needs elsewhere on the roster. But it sounds like there is a financial disconnect between the sides, even though during the season Cruz said there was a "structure" in place for a new contract.
Asked if Cruz's asking price is unreasonable, Mara said, "Well, right now, but that’s his agent. But that’s what agents do, and we’ve got a lot of time to work something out, and hopefully we’ll be able to come together."
Mara said "we have a year to get that worked out." Cruz has played three NFL seasons and is a restricted free agent, so the Giants could tender him to hold onto him in the short-term while they continue to work on a long-term deal.
A first-round tender for 2013 is likely to be $2.879 million, and if the two sides can't come to a deal best guess is that is what the Giants would do.
"He is a high priority, he absolutely is, but he’s not our only priority," Mara said. "You have to have 53 guys signed, and we have some needs in other areas, too. But listen, we do want him back, and he is certainly a priority, and I’m still optimistic of it."
Cruz, of course, has back-to-back 1,000-yard plus receiving seasons including a franchise-record 1,536 yards in 2011. The Giants, obviously, want him back and it seems logical that both the Giants and Cruz see New York as the best place for him. Because Cruz is a restricted free agent, though, the Giants do have the leverage in this situation. So, it looks like this will take some time to play out.