Victor Cruz exploded onto the scene in 2011, catching 82 passes for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns. Somehow, he might improve those numbers in 2012: through seven games, Cruz is on pace for 114 catches, 1,433 yards and 16 touchdowns.
So it shouldn't be a surprise that Cruz, who has previously stated he'd like a raise, would prefer to get a new contract sooner rather than later.
"I'm just in a position right now where I'm just focused on football,” Cruz told WFAN's Mike Francesa on Tuesday. "I have people, my agents and things like that, to worry about that stuff. But as a human being, you obviously want to … you hope you get it done before the season's over."
Cruz is the best value in the NFL almost without exception. He made $490,000 in 2011, he's making $540,000 in 2012, and he'll be a restricted free agent in 2013. So he's not immediately in line for a free path to huge cash.
But if he doesn't get paid before becoming an RFA, you can bet there will be a lot of questions about his contract status between the Super Bowl and the beginning of 2013's training camp.
"We don't want to drag it along and become something that blocks the team in the offseason … something that is in the media every day," Cruz said.
For the Giants, it's hard to imagine a worse time to negotiate a deal. Cruz's value as a football player couldn't be higher, and he's about as marketable as an undrafted -- and previously unknown -- wide receiver can get.
But the Giants are also a smart team. They know what Cruz has helped to do for the franchise over the past year and a half, and it seems likely they'll reward him at some point. That point, if Cruz has his way, will be before the season ends.
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