Tom Coughlin likes to be in control. That much is clear from his new book, "Earn the Right to Win," which was released Tuesday.
But there is at least one aspect of his job that requires him to be a simple observer who hopes for the best.
So it is with the two-time Super Bowl winner -- and two-time author -- as he watches the slow negotiations to keep wide receiver Victor Cruz a Giant for the foreseeable future. Cruz will be a restricted free agent next Tuesday unless he can hammer out a long-term contract with the team, negotiations for which have been simmering but never quite boiling for the last four months or so.
"We sit and we believe and we have confidence that this will be settled," Coughlin told Newsday at a book signing in Manhattan Tuesday.
And if it's not?
"Then going into the year, Victor [will have] had one more year of experience with all of the things that tug at people," Coughlin said. "Exceptional player that he is, outstanding person that he is, he'll be able to deal with it and won't make it a distraction."
Cruz will almost certainly be a Giant in 2013.
If the Giants place a first-round tender on him, as they almost certainly would, Cruz would earn $2.879 million for the season. Other teams would be allowed to negotiate with Cruz, but the Giants would have a chance to match all offers and, if he signed with another team, that team would have to give up a first-round pick to the Giants.
Cruz did leave open the idea of a holdout if he is tendered, but Coughlin -- who has spoken with Cruz in recent weeks -- seemed to believe it was not an option based on his quote about making the situation "a distraction."
The Giants have plenty of other free agents as the league's calendar year approaches, including some high-profile ones in TE Martellus Bennett, K Lawrence Tynes, G Kevin Boothe and DE Osi Umenyiora. They've already parted ways with veterans RB Ahmad Bradshaw, LB Michael Boley and DT Chris Canty.
Turnover in the NFL is an annual occurrence, and Coughlin said he understands that.
But it does not worry him.
"We have the number one ingredient," he said, making a football-throwing motion to signal that he was referring to quarterback Eli Manning. "That guy is still here."