Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz was all smiles last week when he signed a five-year, $43 million contract extension. But the fourth-year receiver might be experiencing buyer’s remorse based on his remarks from an interview on SiriusXMNFL radio on Monday, when he said on the Opening Drive program the deal was less than he originally wanted.
“I'm not going to lie, it’s tough. It’s tough,” he said. “When you understand from a numbers standpoint, and the numbers you put up you feel like deserve a certain amount of money ... and you want your team to owe that to you.
“But I think playing in New York, you can't take that away,” he said. “You have to hold that up to an account at some point when you’re going through these negotiations. You ask yourself ‘Would you want to play for this amount in New York and play in the best city in the world and play football, and - I'm a hometown kid [from Paterson, NJ] - be close to home and your mom and your family? Or do you want to take a big pay day and go somewhere like Kansas City or Minnesota where your family might not be able to come as often as you want and you're living in a city you’re not too familiar with and it’s an adjustment for you?' So you have to take all those things into account as well.
“But I'm not going to say it's easy when you see guys getting these huge paydays and you feel like you're at the same caliber, if not better than some of those guys,” he said.
Cruz was paid substantially less than players like free agent Mike Wallace, who signed a five-year, $60 million deal with the Dolphins. But the difference was that Cruz was a restricted free agent and did not have the leverage of signing elsewhere. The only way he could have made more was if a team was willing to surrender a first-round pick to the Giants. But no one made that kind of offer, meaning that Cruz had to choose between playing on a one-year tender of $2.8 million or agreeing to a long-term contract.
In the end, Cruz chose the long-term deal, although it sounds like even that isn’t completely satisfactory.
Cruz, by the way, hasn’t had a banner week in terms public relations. He started off by apologizing for an admittedly inappropriate tweet on Saturday night suggesting George Zimmerman “doesn’t last a year before the hood catches up to him” in the wake of being acquitted of second-degree murder charges in the Trayvon Martin killing.
And now, by publicly complaining about a megamillions deal that will make him a wealthy man less than four years after entering the NFL as an unrestricted free agent, he’ll find that fans who once loved his rags-to-riches story will soon tire of his act. Especially in this economy.