New York Giants: Will Big Blue, Victor Cruz Work out a Deal for 2013?

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IFebruary 19, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 30:  Victor Cruz #80 of the New York Giants  in action during their game against Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on December 30, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Of all the free agents the New York Giants have to deal with this offseason, their biggest one without a doubt is Victor Cruz.

Cruz is a restricted free agent who has said in the past he would love to be a Giant for a long time, but is also looking for a big payday from the team.

The Giants, however, view their other top receiver Hakeem Nicks as more of a priority to re-sign before he hits free agency.

Nicks has one year left on the contract he signed when he was drafted as a rookie back in 2009 and despite an injury-plagued 2012 season, the Giants would love to lock up their star receiver.

Since that news broke, people have debated on which receiver the team should try to take care of first between Nicks and Cruz.

Personally, I think the team needs to make both men a priority this offseason and sign them both to long-term deals.

But right now, my main focus is Cruz because even though he's just a restricted free agent, he's still a free agent who needs to be taken care of.

The longer the Giants play the waiting game, the more it allows Cruz and his representatives to explore other options to see if he can get a payday elsewhere.

Cruz is coming off his second straight 1,000-yard season along with 10 touchdown receptions for the Giants, but his production could have been better if Nicks was healthy.

As Dan Graziano of ESPN New York pointed out in his column on Monday, the Giants tried to use Cruz on the outside while Nicks was hurt and his production dipped.

The team, in fact, put Cruz back in his slot role where he is more effective and ended up using rookie Rueben Randle on the outside.

I think deep down, Cruz has to know he's not the team's No. 1 receiver and although he'd like to be paid like one, the Giants aren't going to just fork over a blank check to him.

Cruz has to know, though, that with him and Nicks paired up and healthy, they make for one of, if not, the most feared receiver duos in the entire NFL.

If Cruz is really a man of his word when he said he wants to remain a Giant, then he needs to work with the Giants and sign a team-friendly contract.

Cruz also has to know that he might not be able to duplicate his kind of production without the likes of a good wide receiver like Nicks, as it showed that he thrived more on the field when they were together.

All you have to do is look at 2011, where Cruz had over 1,500 receiving yards and a big part of the reason was they couldn't double team both him and Nicks, which allowed them to play one-on-one against defenders.

Aside from the production value aspect, playing in New York will not only give Cruz even more popularity and fame, but he will also be playing in the media capital of the world where sports stars that succeed get treated like kings and could very well make even more money through endorsements.

Look at Derek Jeter of the Yankees. Sure, he's made a fortune in the 17 years he's been on the team, but I'm sure he was more than willing to take all of the extra money he earned while doing all of the endorsement deals as well, like his Ford commercials you see on the YES Network.

Same goes with Eli Manning, who you can see doing the Toyota commercials all the time. People remember those things and Cruz can get that while he's in New York.

He might not get that if he's in San Francisco, Cleveland, Minnesota or anywhere else for that matter.

I think it's in Cruz's best interest of his career to remain with the Giants, where he can continue playing alongside Manning and Nicks while thriving in their offense.

It's also in the Giants best interests to not play a game of chicken with Cruz and his agents and work out a deal.

Many Giants fans like myself are hoping for a deal between the two, and to happen relatively soon.

Stay tuned, Giants fans.


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