The New York Giants needed to restructure wide receiver Victor Cruz's contract in order to pay for additional free agents, and they did just that on Wednesday.
Continue for updates.
Cruz Announces New Deal on Instagram
Wednesday, March 7
Cruz sent fans a message on Instagram announcing he would remain with the Giants:
According to Art Stapleton of Newsday, Cruz's new 2016 contract will have a base salary of $1.3 million, with playing time incentives to boost the contract's worth to $5.5 million, and performance incentives to cover the rest of the remaining salary from his old deal.
Cruz, Giants Reportedly Negotiating
Monday, March 7
ESPN's Ed Werder reported, citing a source, the "Giants have informed [Cruz] they will release him unless he agrees to pay cut."
ESPN.com's Dan Graziano, citing a source, reported the "Giants had discussions last week with the representatives for [Cruz] about restructuring Cruz's contract." Werder confirmed "negotiations are under way."
Graziano added, "Sometime in the coming days, the two sides likely will come to an agreement that reduces Cruz's 2016 salary and cap number."
Graziano reported on Feb. 9 that the "chances are good they work out a new deal for a lower salary" since there's a lot of goodwill between the sides. That said, if they can't come to terms, the Giants would save $6.1 million by releasing him.
McAdoo Comments on Cruz Returning to Giants
Wednesday, Feb. 24
Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said he "absolutely" expects Cruz back with the team next season, per Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.
Cruz Believes Chances of Staying in NY Are Good
Wednesday, Feb. 24
Art Stapleton of the Record noted Cruz used his jersey number to peg his chances of returning to the Giants: "80 percent."
Cruz Hoping to Bounce Back From Injury-Plagued 2015 Season
The 29-year-old wide receiver missed the entire 2015 campaign due to a calf injury. The setback came after he played just six games in 2014 before suffering a torn patella tendon. He hasn't appeared in all 16 regular-season games since 2012.
In October, Rana L. Cash of Sporting News passed along comments from Cruz about the amount of time he's spent rehabbing over the past couple of years.
"It's been difficult," Cruz said. "Obviously, emotionally more than mentally, because mentally I can hone into my injury and hone into the rehab process. But emotionally, it's like, again. It's something that set me back from being out there and that's tough."
The UMass product burst onto the scene with 82 catches for over 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011. He backed those numbers up with 86 grabs for just under 1,100 yards and 10 scores in 2012, but it's been a steady decline since that point.
The injury problems combined with the fact he carried a $9.9 million cap hit for 2016, per Spotrac, forced him to work with the Giants front office on a new deal to stay.
Nobody can be completely sure what to expect from Cruz after he missed so much time due to injury, and he's already at what's typically the back end of a player's peak seasons based on age.
At the same time, it's important for Cruz to prove himself again. If he hit the free-agent market, he would probably be forced to accept an incentive-laden contract anyway. So staying with a team he already knows as part of a passing game that ranked seventh in the NFL last season is the logical move.