The contract squabble between wide receiver Victor Cruz and the Giants organization has been well documented, but things could quickly take a turn for the worse.
Cruz’ original asking price of $8-10 million a year was immediately shot down by co-owner John Mara, and it’s likely that the two sides have not come much closer on the issue, as most reports say that the contract talks have reached a stalemate.
This is an issue that can’t be lingering by the time training camp opens in late July.
Since Cruz is a restricted free agent, he does not have much leverage. If the two sides cannot agree, the Giants will likely slap a first-round tender on him, much like the Steelers did for wide receiver Mike Wallace almost a year ago, offering to pay him just under $3 million for one year’s service.
Technically, that won’t lock Cruz up with New York. If another team wants to take a shot at Cruz, it can. That team will have to give up a first-round pick and offer a contract that the Giants aren’t willing to match, though.
But as we saw with the Wallace situation, that’s not a very likely scenario. It’s unlikely that much will be different for the former undrafted free agent out of DI-AA University of Massachusetts.
However, that will only leave one option for a desperate Cruz: a holdout.
Although it may seem inevitable, the Giants need to avoid a Cruz holdout at all costs. A superstar like Cruz sitting out of practice will attract an ungodly amount of media attention, distracting the whole organization to the detriment of the team.
A larger road bump during the Giants’ most pivotal learning period is unimaginable.