A little over a year ago, the New York Giants signed wide receiver Victor Cruz to a five-year contract extension worth $43 million. The deal included $15.6 million in guaranteed money, which looks huge right now, following a catastrophic knee injury that Cruz suffered Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. Most doctors and trainers will tell you that the torn patellar tendon suffered by Cruz is more difficult to rehab than an ACL injury, meaning that there is a chance that the Giants WR may never be the same player he was before he signed his new deal with the G-Men. He is still just 27-years-old, but, given the devastating nature of the injury, is there a chance that the Giants will release Cruz?
The breakdown of Cruz’s contract has his base salary going up almost every year, culminating with a number of $8.4 million for the 2018 NFL season. His cap number will peak at $9.9 million in 2016, and drop down to $8.5 million in 2018. Cruz also has workout bonuses of $100,000 each season from 2016-2018.
Those are big numbers for a receiver who is no longer the clear-cut No. 1 option for Eli Manning and the New York offense. Rueben Randle has more targets and receptions than Cruz. Larry Donnell has more receptions. Odell Beckham Jr. made his regular season debut with the Giants on Sunday night, but made a great impression 6 catches for 72 yards on 9 targets.
The Giants’ offense is inconsistent. Gone are the days or Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer and Jeremy Shockey. Hakeem Nicks was not the answer to replace the former stars. Cruz is a very talented receiver, but his role will continue to diminish in the future. With a solid running game led by Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams, New York may shift to more of a ground attack than an aerial one, especially with Manning struggling with turnovers at times.
I am not saying that the Giants will release Cruz. I don’t even know if it is a smart football decision, even from a financial standpoint. But, I do know that the possibility will at least be discussed over the coming months.
Especially if the rehab process appears to go slower than expected.