Victor Cruz has followed up his breakout season in 2011 by continuing where he left off, by averaging almost 90 yards a game, and by scoring the game winning touchdown against the Redskins. It was his seventh. Unlike last year, when five of his nine touchdowns came from big plays over 50 yards, that was just his second deep one in 2012. His yards per catch is down as he is being utilized more in short passes, but with 50 catches, he is proving to be way more than just a deep threat and big play guy.
In the offseason, when there were rumblings of a potential Cruz holdout, I said that he should come back and play if he was confident in his ability. He would have signed for a discount at the time, because history is littered with one year wonders. Showing it for another season would have drastically increased his market value. I was wrong about one thing. I said that even if he turned out to have a good career, that was likely his career year as 1,500 seasons don’t grow on trees. He’s testing that almost halfway through.
Ross Tucker goes so far as to say that Victor Cruz should sit out the rest of the year until he gets compensated, because it’s not worth the injury risk.
Victor Cruz should consider sitting out until he gets new deal. $285K for next 9 weeks not worth injury risk.
— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) October 24, 2012
I would have a better suggestion, since the chances of a career altering injury for Cruz are still small. Get an insurance policy. You are getting paid by the Giants, or as a restricted free agent soon if the Giants don’t step up. Pay the cost of a premium for six months, to insure yourself. Don’t sit out being a football player, because that will impact your market value. Offseasons are for business, not the middle of it.
Art Stapleton of the Bergen Record says Cruz is owed a deal by the Giants now. They might want to get those discussions going this week before the price gets higher. Phil Simms had this to say in the Stapleton piece:
“I give Eli Manning credit, of course, he’s great, but Victor Cruz – he’s making Eli a bigger star and there’s no doubt about it. He’s everything. He really truly is everything. He’s quick. He’s fast. He’s strong. He has tremendous hands and a great feel of how to play the game. There’s great talent at that position in the league, but I’m not sure anybody’s better.”
I know the offensive numbers around the league have taken off, but Cruz is already 31st in NFL history for combined receiving yards at age 25 and 26 (he turns 26 on November 11th). If he just has about 500 receiving yards for the rest of the year–basically just the production of Michael Crabtree or Steve Johnson–he’ll jump to 7th on the list. If he keeps up his pace from the last two years, he’ll be neck and neck with Randy Moss for #1 at this age.
[photo via US Presswire]