Please make checks payable to: Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.
It’s time for the Giants to pay to keep their star Wide Receivers, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. Today, it was reported that Cruz is seeking around $10-$11 million annually from the Giants, while the Giants have reportedly offered a deal worth $7 million annually with more than $20 million in guarantees. Cruz recently dumped his former agent Tom Condon in favor of Jay-z’s Roc Nation. Cruz is asking for the going rate for a No. 1 wide receiver entering his prime. On the other hand, the Giants are offering the highest salary for a slot receiver of elite status, which Cruz is at this point in his career.
The Giants also want to keep Nicks, who they consider a more legitimate No. 1 receiver. Although Cruz has been healthier and more productive than Nicks, he is still Eli’s top target outside of the slot position. The Giants would like to keep both players long-term and solidify the passing offense for the next several seasons, however, it will be difficult to pay both receivers top dollar and stay under the cap. The only other team in the NFL with two receivers earning more than $8 million per season is the Seattle Seahawks (Percy Harvin $11.1 million; Sidney Rice $8.2 million).
In my opinion, the Giants front office must work this out before the season starts and attempt to make fair offers to both players and avoid in-season contract drama (see Osi Umenyiora). Nicks and Cruz are Eli’s favorite targets and the Giants must keep their franchise players happy. It could require some contract restructuring (perhaps by Eli himself) or it could require more guaranteed money, but essentially both deals have to get done. It’s tough to find a receiver in the draft with such capable hands as Nicks and a lightning-quick slot receiver like Cruz comes along once in a blue moon. For the Giants to keep their passing game near the top of the league, they need these players on the roster. We will see what the Giants do and what type of deal they can work out with both players. Nonetheless, it’s time for the Giants to pay their bills.