Mara talks tough on Cruz contract

February, 1, 2013
2/01/13
4:55
PM ET
NEW ORLEANS -- New York Giants owner John Mara says he wants to sign wide receiver Victor Cruz to a long-term deal, but he made it clear he's not going to just give Cruz whatever he wants. Per Jenny Vrentas:
"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."

Some Giants fans have asked if there's reason to panic, and I would say probably not. As Mara points out, they can tender Cruz this year and put off the long-term deal until after next season if they really want (or work on it in the meantime). Since the sides aren't up against any hard deadlines right now, it's fair to assume each is posturing and going through a normal negotiation process and will naturally move closer to each other as that process goes along.

I still think Cruz ends up signing with the Giants long-term. They should be able to get him for less than top-wideout money, since I think Cruz is a marketing-conscious young man who appreciates the non-football opportunities the New York market affords him and will realize New York is where he really has to be. On the flip side, Hakeem Nicks' injury issues help underline Cruz's value to the Giants, and the deal he ultimately gets should be more than fair, even if it doesn't rank with the top wide receivers in the league. There certainly appears to be something to be done here, and I continue to believe it will get done, no matter what anyone's saying on Feb. 1.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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