The typical quiet New York Giants have been experiencing a bit of drama this week as both their starting WRs have opted to skip the team's OTAs. The reason for both is the same... money.
That Victor Cruz is not present is no surprise given that he's currently not under contract. Cruz, who has played on a bargain basement undrafted rookie contract is a restricted free agent this year and was given a one year tender offer by the Giants valued at under $3 million a year. For a guy that's been an All Pro and Pro Bowler in his young career playing for peanuts, that's obviously a joke but it's a standard tender amount.
Reports are the that the team has a real offer on the table worth upwards of $7 million a year. The two sides have been talking, but despite reports that a deal was close nothing has happened.
One of the reasons some Giants fans have been talking themselves into being ok with the possibility that Cruz could be gone this year or next is the fact that team was also going to have to pay Hakeem Nicks next year. Suddenly, next year is right now.
Nicks was also a no show at the team's OTAs and is also looking for a new deal. However, unlike Cruz, he is under contract for this season. Despite that fact that Cruz has been the healthier and more productive player over the last two years, Nicks is expected to get the bigger deal.
For the Eagles, this will be very relevant next season when Jeremy Maclin is up for an extension. Maclin & Nicks were both first round picks in the same year and while at this point I think most would agree that Nicks is the overall more talented WR, the fact that he's been injury prone has really kept him from outproducing Maclin. Maclin actually has more career receptions, while Nicks has just one more career TD. Their numbers are remarkably similar. If Nicks is able to strong arm a contract out of the Giants this offseason, you can be sure Jeremy Maclin's agents will be looking for something similar.
If the Giants pay both their WRs this year, that will certainly set the market for a guy like Maclin next year.
As for the Giants, I would guess that they aren't going to pay both of these guys. They did recently spend a 2nd round pick on Rueben Randle, so they could very decide to rely on him and pay only one of Nicks or Cruz.
The Giants, who are already near the cap thanks in large part to enormous money they pay Eli Manning, will also have to pay Jason Pierre-Paul at some point in the next 2 seasons. So there's certainly some long term planning to take into account here. This is sort of the curse for being so good at drafting over that span. Eventually, all those good players want megabucks and in this flat cap NFL that gets tough.
Personally, if I were Victor Cruz, I'd take the deal the Giants have on the table now. He won't have Nnamdi Asomugha around to rack up such gaudy stats against twice a season anymore...