Victor Cruz faces an uncertain future with the Giants after being placed on injured reserve with a calf injury that required surgery this week. But he's not the only Giants player whose status for 2016 is in doubt.
The Giants have big decisions to make not only on Cruz, but also on three other players whose futures are complicated by injury issues: defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, cornerback Prince Amukamara and linebacker Jon Beason.
Cruz almost certainly will not be back without a major contract restructuring from the six-year, $45.9-million deal he signed in 2013. He is due to make $7.9 million next year but will have missed 26 games the last two seasons. The Giants either will release him or ask him to take a major pay cut.
"That will take care of itself when the time comes," general manager Jerry Reese said of Cruz's contract situation. "Right now, we'll just try to focus on the last six games."
A lot will depend on the Giants' medical evaluation of Cruz once he rehabs. If he is fully healed and gets a clean bill of health, a restructuring is the most likely outcome. But Reese is non-committal, as he should be. After all, a player coming off two straight seasons in which surgery was required simply may not be the same.
Pierre-Paul returned from a devastating July 4 fireworks injury in which he had to have the index finger on his right hand amputated. He also had portions of his thumb and middle finger removed and required several skin grafts. He signed a one-year, incentive-laden deal in which he can earn a maximum of $8.71 million, although it appears more likely he will earn about half of that based on playing time and performance incentives.
The bigger issue is next year: The Giants almost certainly won't place the franchise tag on Pierre-Paul as they did this year, but that means he would be an unrestricted free agent and eligible to sign with any team. Even with his hand issue, Pierre-Paul has flashed his old form and no doubt would be attractive to other teams. The Giants will count on Pierre-Paul's familiarity with the organization but also will have to be competitive with any contract offer to keep him. That could be in the neighborhood of $10 million a year or more.
Amukamara is perhaps the biggest conundrum. There is no disputing his talent. He's one of the best cover corners in the NFL and is a terrific complement to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. But Amukamara has a history of injuries.
He's in the final year of his $8.18 million rookie contract, of which $7.5 million was guaranteed. But Amukamara has played a full 16-game season only once (2013) and has missed the last five games with a pectoral injury. In his three-plus seasons, he has missed 25 games, although he is expected to return after the bye.
The Giants almost certainly will not place the franchise tag on Amukamara, but they also don't want to lose him in free agency. They no doubt will make a competitive financial offer to keep him but aren't expected to get into a bidding war with another team.
Beason is signed through next year, but he'll be 31 and likely won't be back on his current contract because of recent injuries. He probably won't be back, period. Beason is out for the year with an ankle injury and will have missed a combined 23 games over the last two seasons.