Well, the news is abuzz today that Victor Cruz is nearing the long-term contract closure everyone’s been waiting (and waiting and waiting) for over the last several months, and it’s anticipated that he will sign before camp begins. Well good. But am I jumping for joy? Not particularly. Not yet. In February I would have salsa’d my way from California to New Jersey to Puerto Rico and back, but as we sit here in July, I’m just, well… good.
And for that I am conflicted.
Why, you say? Well, frankly I’ve had 5 months and then some to analyze this situation to death (like most good females do), and I can’t say I am ready to put a #80 on my back just yet (of course, I am known to wear an 88). If you have read my previous comments on the Cruz situation, I’ve become quite concerned about his primary focus. Is his focus on helping his teammates? Is it on getting better at football, on doing what it takes to help the Giants get back to a championship? Or is it on his off-the-field commercial success in the spotlight and his paycheck?
Frankly, I’ve never understood the paycheck issue in this discussion anyway. If the Giants planned to offer Cruz $7-8M per year (quite a high salary for a slot receiver), and yet he wants $10-11M per year – in a market like New York, and with the clean, salsa-dancing, engaging personality we’ve grown to love, isn’t he bound to make up for that financial gap in spades anyway? He barely has to do anything except for keep dancing and keep that clean image and smile on his face, and the money will be there after his playing days are through. Oh – and focus on being the best player and team contributor he can be while he’s playing would be a great idea too!
But after the RFA period was through, and as the months have progressed, we’ve seen more and more played out in the media about a focus on money, and for this, I can’t help but question his full commitment to team success. And could this somehow be detrimental to building a unified team ready to win another championship?
So I am honestly conflicted. As the Giants and Giants fans have come to say – ‘TEAM FIRST. TEAM LAST. TEAM ALWAYS’ – not ‘TEAM WHEN I AM NOT FILMING A COMMERCIAL OR DOING A PROMOTIONAL EVENT’.
BUT, like Coach Coughlin did before entering the 2007 championship season when he looked first at himself to find the key to success, so must I (and other fans who are of the same mindset). If Victor signs a long-term deal before camp begins, I must shake this last 5 months of tainted opinions off completely, throw them out the door, shift gears, and begin fresh. I must remember that this undrafted free-agent first turned our heads in a Jets game in 2010, and then he did it again and again; and made us dance with every touchdown!
Because if I believe in Cruz, and his ability to be an energetic, team player and leader, focused on the Giants’ success, then I too am doing my part to be: ALL IN.