Clayton: Reason to worry about Cruz

May, 13, 2013
Our bud Dan Graziano over at the NFC East blog saw this earlier in John Clayton's mailbag.

Clayton was asked about the Victor Cruz contract saga:

Q: Is Victor Cruz going to accept the long-term contract the Giants are offering him? I think $7 million with a lot of guaranteed money is plenty for a slot receiver, and he also is getting a bunch from endorsements. Still, I'm worried.

-- Andrew in New York

[+] EnlargeVictor Cruz
Jim O'Connor/USA TODAY SportsVictor Cruz has 168 receptions for 2,628 yards and 19 TDs over a prolific two-year stretch.
Clayton: You should be worried. Tom Coughlin is worried. It's hard for a slot receiver to make more than $8 million a year. Cruz wants more. That's negotiating. I can't see the Giants going above $8 million, particularly knowing they might have to pay more to Hakeem Nicks if Nicks shows he's healthy. I think it would be good business if Cruz compromises, comes closer to the Giants' number, and then takes a deal that will leave him in position to get those endorsements. I have no problem with a player asking for the most money he can make. In this market, though, I worry what happens to the player if he lets a decent deal slip by and the money goes to another player.

Dan agrees with Clayton and offers his take by saying "Cruz probably has to end up being the one to make the first concession that ultimately gets the deal done."

Dan is right about the Giants organization typically being one that doesn't tend to blink when it comes to contract negotiations. The Giants certainly won't budge if Cruz opts to skip next month's mandatory minicamp. Remember, the Giants dealt with Osi Umenyiora holding out and complaining about his contract during training camp a few years ago.

I don't ever doubt Clayton, who knows a great deal about everything football, especially contracts. However -- and perhaps I am wrong -- I'm just not that worried right now. There's no reason yet to be worried. Veterans minicamp is certainly the first sign of what could come in the negotiations if Cruz attends or skips. And shortly after that, the Giants can opt to reduce the $2.879 million one-year RFA tender given to the receiver, should they choose to go that route. My guess is they wouldn't do that.

But to me the real indicator is training camp. If Cruz holds out, then it may be time to worry. If that were to happen, Cruz would be missing valuable time with the offense and Coughlin won't be pleased.

But until then, I'm going to lean on Cruz's good relationship with the team and the positive track record Cruz's agent, Tom Condon, has with the Giants in dealing with his other clients -- Eli Manning, Mathias Kiwanuka and Mark Herzlich. Condon might be able to work out a deal that makes sense to both sides. And I don't have any reason as of now to doubt John Mara's optimism that a deal will get done eventually.

Tell us if you are worried like Clayton says you might want to be.
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 after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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