Victor Cruz wants a raise – and deserves one

New York Giants Victor Cruz gestures after catching a pass for a first down against the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter during their NFL NFC Divisional playoff football game in Green Bay, Wisconsin, January 15, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Victor Cruz is right: The man deserves a pay raise.

After hauling in 82 passes for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011, the Giants’ receiver told PFT Live on Thursday that he deserves “to be paid more money at this point.”

“I think I was paid, you know, relative to where I came in this year and, you know, I came in as a free agent so that’s the salary I was on, so I don’t feel like I was underpaid,” Cruz said. “I mean, I feel like after my performance this year, you know, I feel like I deserve to be paid more money at this point. But that’s something I’ll let my agents and those people take care of and I’ll just go out there and play the game.”

Some may point to his four-catch, 25-yard performance in the Super Bowl as reason why the Giants should wait until Cruz becomes a restricted free agent in 2013 to pay him. But this is yet another case when stats don’t tell the entire story.

Bill Belichick thought so highly of Cruz that he felt the need to double team him in the slot and jam him at the line of scrimmage on the outside. That’s why Cruz barely made a blip on the radar screen during the Super Bowl. The Patriots actually game planned to take him out of the game, which speaks volumes to Cruz’s worth in the Giants’ underrated passing game.

If the Giants were smart they would give him a modest pay raise during the offseason and tell Cruz that if he can match the success he had in 2011, the two sides can talk about a long-term deal when he becomes a restricted free agent in 2013. Cruz doesn’t seem like someone who is going to take the diva route, so it’s doubtful that paying him now would backfire on the Giants. (Again, I’m talking about a modest pay bump – not a $40 million contract.)

Too many times teams will overpay for free agents and rookies that have never played a down for their city, but bulk when it comes to giving their own guys new deals. That’s entirely backwards when you think about it. Teams should strive to acquire talent and then keep those players around when they succeed.

Nobody in that New York front office is a dummy so I expect the Giants’ staff to be proactive when it comes to Cruz’s situation.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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