One small step for Victor Cruz, and one leap of faith for those who enjoy watching a wide receiver post a lot of large numbers on Sundays, for both reality and fantasy purposes.
Every summer we have the pleasure of at least one contract standoff, and Cruz is fashionable this year. You’re surely well aware of the details by now, but here’s the gist to refresh: he’s a restricted free agent, he wasn’t offered a contract by another team prior to the draft, and now he had until June 17 (Monday) to sign his RFA tender worth a fully guaranteed $2.879 million before the Giants could slash it.
So although yes, it may indeed be a small step and a sort of peace offering, Cruz is signing his tender today, according to Josina Anderson. Embrace the olive branch, Giants.
Cruz told Anderson that negotiations for a long-term deal will continue, with the aim still being to have a new contract in place before training camp. And despite all the negativity now, a serious deadline (like, say, the start of training camp) usually prompts action. That’s what we’re seeing today with Cruz signing his tender, and that’s what we’ll likely see again in about a month. However, if an agreement isn’t reached, then a holdout is still very possible.
But about that negativity: there’s been a whole lot of it, with the Giants using every bit of leverage provided to them by Cruz’s RFA status (note: that gives them all the leverage). Remember back in mid April when Jerry Reese said he wasn’t sure if Cruz would be around on opening day? Yeah, that was great fun.
Cruz hasn’t been in attendance at the Giants’ minicamp, which has frustrated head coach Tom Coughlin. But there’s no alternative for Cruz, because as we’ve seen several times this offseason, a devastating injury can occur any time a football player is on a football field (hi, Michael Crabtree and Melvin Ingram, and last spring Terrell Suggs). Cruz doesn’t have a contract right now, so participating in that environment is a horribly unwise career move.
Cruz signing his tender is a formality, but it’s also an opening, and a shred of something positive in a situation where such things have been difficult to find. Cruz reportedly wants about $11 million annually, and the Giants increased their offer to $8 million in late April. Now that gap has presumably — and dear god, hopefully — closed a bit further, but talks are still moving “incredibly slowly“.
Common sense usually wins these battles. Usually.