Victor Cruz Should Not Be a New York Giant
During this offseason Victor Cruz has been a restricted free agent. However, not a single team in the NFL attempted to acquire his services. Not one.
ARE YOU F%&*@$# SERIOUS!
This is Victor Cruz we’re talking here! The 26 year-old Pro Bowl wide receiver that causes nightmares in the slot was available…and no one was interested.
Given his stats, it’s impossible to imagine why. Let’s take a look.
From the numbers, it’s obvious that Cruz is a playmaker (check some highlights here)—and a consistent one at that. In two seasons of play (he was developing his first year and recorded no stats) Cruz has managed 168 catches, 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns while earning a Super Bowl ring. That’s a pretty damn good resume. In addition, his average of 18.7 yards per catch in 2011 was the best in the entire league for anyone with more than 45 catches and he had nearly double that number.
Simply put, Cruz is an explosive weapon and has already proven that he can be a vital cog on a championship caliber team.
Now, in order to acquire Cruz’s services, teams would have had to go through the restricted free agent process. So, let’s say for the hell of it (emphasis on: for the hell of it) that the Eagles were to try and sign Cruz. They would submit an offer to Cruz and, if he signed that offer, the Giants would have the opportunity to match. If they are not interested or can’t afford to match the offer, then they would receive a first round pick from the Eagles because Cruz was tendered at the first round level.
Therefore, the cost of acquiring would likely be somewhere in the ball park of $10 million a year and a 2013 first round pick. That sounds reasonable, especially for “receiver needy” teams that pick in the second half of the first round. For example, Carolina (14), Minnesota (23 and 25), or New England (29).
To provide a little more perspective, let’s consider the case of Mike Wallace, who was an unrestricted free agent this year. To begin, here are his stats.
Wallace is a very solid player with his average of 59 catches for 1,011 yards and eight touchdowns. Wallace is also the same age (26), height (6’0″), and only five pounds lighter at 199 lbs. However, what differs is the attention that each got on the market.
Wallace was considered the top prize of free agency this year and was quickly swept off of the market by the Miami Dolphins. He received a contract for five years, $60 million.
The only reason such an offer wasn’t given to Cruz is the loss of a first round draft pick. However, this seems to be a bit counterproductive as far as building a contender goes. The whole idea of a first round pick is that you want to draft a guy that’s young, can make an instant impact, and hopefully becomes one of the better players in the league at his position for a long time.
Cruz is that guy. Given that he’s already performed at a top level in the NFL he’s also much more of a surefire thing than any receiver in the draft by a mile. There’s no “bust” factor involved. Cruz is a player.
Yet the window for restricted free agency is closed now, meaning that for at least one more season Cruz will remain in New York. As an Eagles fan this is truly upsetting; and as a fan of the NFL, it has me scratching my head.
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