Good morning, New York Giants' fans. Here is a lengthy list of links for your Saturday enjoyment.
Yes, Cruz is the one with the flashier numbers over the past couple of years. No one is arguing his accomplishments. He has 168 catches for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns -- numbers that rank among the very best in the NFL for wide receivers. Over the same time period, Nicks has 129 catches for 1,884 yards and 10 touchdowns and has missed four games due to injury. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Give Cruz what he wants and tell the banged-up Nicks he has to take less until he proves he can stay healthy.
But I'm not so sure the Giants think the same way, and honestly I'm not so sure they should. Jerry Reese loves to cite numbers and tell you they can be replaced, and I'm sure that it's come up in negotiations with Cruz's agent that Steve Smith caught 107 passes for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns in 2009 in the same slot receiver role Cruz plays now, with the same quarterback throwing to him.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Cruz isn't better than Smith. I'm saying that, in the Giants' minds, it may make sense to think that, if Cruz left, Manning could make a star out of whoever they got to replace him. When the Giants tried to play Cruz on the outside more in 2012, it didn't work out too well. When opposing defenses started getting physical with Cruz in midseason, his productivity dipped. He worked to overcome it, but by late in the season the Giants were clearly trying to keep Cruz in the slot as much as possible, to the point where they were using unready rookie Rueben Randle on the outside in some formations. It's entirely possible the Giants could reach the conclusion that the undrafted Cruz, while a tremendous NFL success story, is at his best a great slot receiver and not worthy of No. 1 receiver money.
NFL Draft: Ranking the best and worst draft classes of 2010 - SBNation.com
22. New York Giants Top Pick: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (15th overall) How could a draft be bad when you've got JPP in the first, starting DT Linval Joseph in the second, and a Super Bowl ring? Well, it's not that it's terrible, but there was nothing else after those two. Anytime you get an elite defensive end, that's good. But when your third-best draft pick was a punter who played for you for one season (Matt Dodge), that leaves something to be desired.
Eight in the Box: Must-keep free agents - NFC East Blog - ESPN
New York Giants: Left tackle Will Beatty. Protecting quarterback Eli Manning is the top priority, and Beatty emerged in 2012 as a top left tackle. I considered wide receiver Victor Cruz here, but he's restricted, so they can tender him and still get by. If they lose Beatty, they'll need to hunt for a new left tackle. That's no fun.