by Paul West
So the New York Giants have signed Victor Cruz, but continue to lowball him instead of ink him to a solid, lengthy deal.
The Giants have apparently defined Cruz as a slot guy instead of a wideout, which reputedly is part of their justification; apparently, the logic is that the highest paid receivers in the NFL are wideouts, not slot receivers. Yeah, okay. The problem is that that some of the best offenses in the NFL revolve around the slot guys…the outside-in approach is old-school, whereas the slot-out approach represents the game’s evolution to a more flexible, harder to stop attack. And let’s say you even allowed for the argument that slot receivers aren’t as valuable as wideouts: how many game-changing slot receivers are out there that are better than Cruz? You’re not gonna get Randall Cobb or Wes Welker anytime soon, and Cruzzy and Eli Manning have great chemistry for having played together not very long. With speed on the outside, in the form of guys like Hakeem Nicks, Cruz has a chance to be the kind of player Torry Holt for Kurt Warner in the Greatest Show On Turf days…why exactly are they even considering better-dealing him?
Moreover, a guy like Cruz is great for the franchise from a PR standpoint. The kid’s based in New Jersey, played for an unheralded program (how many All-Pro receivers come out of UMass?) and is a local AND league-wide fan favorite. He stays out of trouble, has a dimpled, made-for-prime-time smile and dances salsa in the end zone without antagonizing the opposition. He’s prolific, smart and athletic, and has a knack for clutch grabs. he can play in the slot OR out wide. He’s in a relatively small group of receivers, in terms of his versatility and intangibles. One could argue that, along with Eli, he’s the Giants’ most important ‘skill player’ (a term I somewhat take issue with, but I digress. Letting Victor Cruz go would be a grievous error.
Pay Victor Cruz what he’s worth!