Giants give Cruz five-year extension
Jay Glazer, FOX Sports
Mon Jul 8, 6:22 PM UTC
Victor Cruz and the New York Giants have reached agreement after one of the longest, most publicized contract negotiations in NFL history.
Cruz will sign a five-year extension worth $43 million on top of the one-year tender the Pro Bowl wide receiver has already signed, sources told FOX Sports. In all, the contract is a six-year deal worth $45.879 million and includes $15.6 million guaranteed.
The average of $8.6 million per season in "new" money isn't quite the double digits Cruz was hoping to get from the Giants, but it's more than $2 million more per year than Wes Welker and Danny Amendola received to set what was the top of the market for slot receivers this offseason.
The Seattle Seahawks gave Percy Harvin more than $11 million per year, though Harvin's value is inflated because of what he's able to do as a returner and a rushing threat.
The $12 million per season the Miami Dolphins gave Mike Wallace is still the most luractive deal for a wide receiver this year, which indicates the importance of having an outside threat who can stretch a defense. Cruz had 168 catches for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns over the past two regular seasons, but the outside presence is still what gets a receiver a top-of-the-market deal these days.
The Giants have one of their own they'll need to re-sign in Hakeem Nicks, who is a free agent at the end of this season. The former first-round pick is slated to earn $2.725 million in base salary in 2013 and could set himself up for a longer deal if he proves he can stay healthy and return to the form he displayed in 2010 and 2011, when he caught a combined 155 passes for 2,244 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Cruz, meanwhile, will be relieved to know he doesn't have to answer any more contract questions, something that has been quite frequent for him since late in the 2011 season. After he caught a touchdown in Super Bowl XLVI, Cruz began to field questions about his worth. He repeatedly said he deserved a bigger deal but vowed he wouldn't be a distraction last season -- and he wasn't.
But this offseason, Cruz went silent and also declined to show up for voluntary workouts and the team's minicamp. It wasn't mandatory for Cruz, a restricted free agent, to show up for the minicamp because he hadn't yet signed his tender. He did just that one day after the minicamp ended, with a long-term deal still in the works. The sides came together on an agreement quickly thereafter, with Cruz realizing the deal on the table was fair.
The Giants initially offered in the range of $6.5 million last year, a source said. Cruz wound up getting a little more, though the Giants locked him up through the age of 32, which is a win for them.
Mike Garafolo and Peter Schrager contributed to this report.
Courtesy of FOXSports.com
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