HOUSTON — Victor Cruz is as uncertain about his future as anyone.
He knows what he wants, which is to stay with the Giants. He knows what he did in the 2016 season, about what it should be worth to a team. What he doesn’t know is how the organization that took a chance on him as an undrafted rookie and waited patiently for him to recover from knee and calf surgeries while missing almost two full seasons views his future.
“That,” he said on Thursday, “is the question.”
Cruz is coming off a season in which he caught 39 passes for 586 yards and a touchdown but also saw several games in which he was a non-factor. He is due to earn $6.4 million in 2017 and $7.4 million in 2018 on his current contract. Something has to give in that equation.
“I understand the business side of it, I understand what my numbers are, what I’m due to make next year,” Cruz said. “I understand all of that stuff.”
In the meantime, Cruz said he is “going about my business” and waiting to see what happens, if the Giants will approach him to take another pay cut, or if they will part ways with him altogether.
“Obviously in my heart I want to stay here and be a Giant and finish my career here for as long as God determines,” he said. “But so far I haven’t heard anything.”
The 30-year-old, who was filming the Nickelodeon “Superstar Slime Showdown,” which will air on Sunday, said he is realistic enough to have begun thinking about other outcomes. He definitely wants to play in 2017, and if the Giants won’t have him back, he’ll go elsewhere.
He understands the risks involved in that.
“Throughout my tenure with the Giants there are guys who have left for greener pastures and it hasn’t been that way,” he said, a reference to former teammates such as Ahmad Bradshaw, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Mario Manningham, whose careers fizzled away from New York. “That’s the Giants’, I wouldn’t say curse, but their kind of thing, that every guy who has left the Giants hasn’t necessarily done tremendously well. I think about that, even though it might just be a mental thing and not necessarily something that is true for everyone. But I think about it and it definitely weighs on my psyche a little bit.”
There is also a part of Cruz that has to wonder if maybe he’d be better off with another team where he could play more in the slot than he did this year. The Giants used rookie Sterling Shepard in that spot and rotated Odell Beckham Jr. in as well, with Cruz playing mostly on the outside.
“Obviously playing in the slot is something that I’m best at, and an opportunity to do that would definitely be good,” he said.
However it works out, Cruz feels more confident going into 2017 than he did a year ago when he was coming off the two surgeries and the long layoff.
“It’s a little different having played and feeling good about myself and feeling confident as opposed to last year where it was still kind of an unknown going into camp and going into OTAs,” Cruz said. “Now it feels a little better . . . It’s definitely a building block. I feel like in the limited time and the limited targets and reps and snaps I’ve done a good job of showing that I can make plays and showing that I can do some things on the field, whether it be inside or outside. I use it as a baseline to go forward.”
Forward with which team, however, he cannot yet say.