New York Giants: 5 Players Who Deserve Long-Term Extensions
The New York Giants have struggled to make many blockbuster moves this offseason due to their salary cap situation. They did not have much room despite cutting Brandon Jacobs and restructuring Eli Manning and David Diehl's contracts.
They could not re-sign Jacobs or Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham despite neither of them getting big-time deals elsewhere.
Instead, their focus over the summer could be on extending the contracts of players key to their Super Bowl run.
There are plenty of names that come to mind following last season's heroics. Here are five that should see their contracts extended. For some, an increase in pay should be in order.
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Kenny Phillips' rookie contract is set to end after the 2012 season, and Jerry Reese will hopefully make the right call by bringing him back.
He was the most consistent secondary player for the Giants last season and is a necessary cog in Perry Fewell's scheme.
After losing Phillips during the 2009 season, the Giants defense fell apart. The team went 3-8 down the stretch after he went on IR. However, he has since recovered from his knee condition and is playing at a high level and should be rewarded accordingly.
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The Giants defensive captain turned 29 this March, so he still has a few good years left in him. His contract is set to run out after the 2013 season, so Reese will not need to address this until next year, but Tuck should definitely be extended.
He just feels like someone who deserves to be a Giant for life. He probably could have won Super Bowl MVP in both of the Giants Super Bowl wins, had it not been for the heroics of Eli Manning.
Simply put, he's been nothing but the best teammate, leader and person.
I can't imagine Tuck in another uniform; hopefully Reese feels the same.
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Prior to the 2011 season, Mathias Kiwanuka signed a "prove-it" contract.
A two year, $8 million deal did not seem right for the level of production Kiwanuka brings to the table, but he had a serious neck injury that kept him out for most of the 2010 season. Therefore, he needed to prove to the Giants that he had returned to full strength.
He did that, and then some in 2011. Kiwanuka was the Giants' best run-stuffing linebacker, while also coming down on passing situations to rush the passer.
A do-it-all defensive player, he needs to be extended so that he doesn't test the free-agent market next winter.
Hakeem Nicks has emerged as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL over the past two seasons. He and Victor Cruz make up the top duo in the NFL, and the front office should do everything they can to keep them together.
Nicks' contract expires at the end of the 2013 season, but it might save the Giants some money to extend him sooner rather than later. The new TV deal is expected to bring the league millions upon billions in revenue starting in 2013, so while the Giants would be making more money, player demands could increase.
If he has another season like 2011, Nicks could be looking for Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald-type money.
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If there is one person on the Giants squad that deserves both an extension and a huge raise more than anyone else, it is Victor Cruz.
The Giants found a diamond in the rough when they picked up Cruz as an undrafted free agent in 2010, and he rewarded them with one of the best seasons by a wide receiver in Giants history.
He set the record for yards with 1,536, making big play after big play in big games. His best and probably most important play came with the Giants trailing the Jets 7-3 towards the end of the season.
Having done nothing offensively for the entire first half, Cruz sparked the offense with a 99-yard catch and run for a touchdown.
The Giants needed to win their final two games to make the playoffs, and that was the first of the two.
Cruz is only making $540,000 in 2012 and says he deserves to be paid more. I agree. Make it happen, Jerry Reese.