Coughlin: 'We want Cruz to be a Giant'

March, 5, 2013
3/05/13
5:12
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Coach Tom Coughlin wants Victor Cruz around for a long time and expects the salsa-dancing, Pro Bowl wide receiver to remain with the Giants.

But Coughlin understands "it takes two to tango" and knows there is a limitation to what the New York Giants can do to sign Cruz, a restricted free agent, to an extension.

"We want Victor Cruz to be a Giant," Coughlin said before promoting his new book, "Earn The Right To Win: How Success in Any Field Starts with Superior Preparation," on "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News.

[+] EnlargeVictor Cruz
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesVictor Cruz took in a couple of Knicks games last week while he waited for free agency to begin.
"That is the bottom line. However, it takes two to tango. We would certainly want to do everything in our power to keep him here. Ownership has indicated that. Front office has indicated that.

"That is where we are," he continued while standing in a green room. "We will do whatever we can. Obviously, we have some type of limitation. We do have other players to sign. He is a huge part [of the Giants' success] and he is very, very popular. He is a wonderful young man, he is a great story. That story should stay here."

The problem is that the two sides have not been able to work out an extension for months. During the 2012 season, Cruz was confident and optimistic that an extension would be reached after saying the structure of a deal was in place.

But the Giants and Cruz remain apart as free agency approaches. The Giants will likely tender Cruz; if they give him the highest restricted free-agent tender, they would receive a first-round pick as compensation if they chose not to match an offer from another team.

The Giants recently re-signed free agent left tackle Will Beatty to a five-year deal worth as much as $38.75 million. The team had to release veterans like Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Canty and Michael Boley to clear cap space. The Giants likely have some more cap maneuvering to do to potentially re-sign left guard Kevin Boothe and tight end Martellus Bennett.

Co-owner John Mara recently told the Newark Star-Ledger that the Giants have a spending limit on what they can do with Cruz. The team also wants to lock down wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who is entering the final year of his contract.

"It's obvious that we have had to part ways with some very, very special players and special people that have helped us win one or two championships," Coughlin said. "I would prefer not to lose anybody, but that is just the nature of the business."

"We have to wait and see," Coughlin later added when asked if the Giants will do more in free agency besides trying to keep some of their own free agents. "It is all cap-driven."

Coughlin has spoken with Cruz recently. He doesn't know if the receiver will get the contract he wants, but he does expect Cruz -- a native of Paterson, N.J. -- to stay here.

"I expect him to be a Giant, yes," Coughlin said. "He knows that we want him to be a Giant. He is well aware of that."
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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