The two-time Super Bowl MVP indicated Wednesday at a sponsor event that the Giants haven’t asked him to redo his contract to open cap space. However, he said he would consider anything that helps the team.
“I want Victor back with the Giants,” Manning said, adding that he checks the newspapers every morning to make sure that Cruz has not signed with another team. “It is nerve-racking. He is anxious. He has been dealing with this contract issue for a long time, last year and into this year. I know he wants to get this settled and get back to playing football, and just worrying about that.”
The Giants recently allowed Cruz to enter restricted free agency, placing a first-round tender ($2.87 million for 2012) on the popular local product from Paterson, N.J., which is about 10 miles from MetLife Stadium. New York has the right to match any offer he receives. It would receive a first-round draft choice as compensation if he leaves.
“Get this done!’”
Realistically, Manning said he has not interfered in the talks between Cruz and the Giants. He has talked with Cruz, but it was more the usual offseason stuff about how are things going and telling him to be ready to go to work on April 15 when offseason training starts.
Manning is not opposed to reworking his contract, which runs through 2015. His cap value will be close to $21 million this season.
Tom Brady of the New England Patriots agreed to a three-year contract extension in late February that freed up nearly $15 million in salary cap room. That didn’t prevent Wes Welker, his leading receiver, from signing with the Denver Broncos, a move that will make him a target for Eli’s brother, Peyton.
Eli Manning insisted that no matter what teams offer, the final decision will be with Cruz, who broke the team’s single-season record for yards receiving in 2011. He had 86 catches last season for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“I think he likes being here,” Manning said about Cruz. “I think he fits very well into our offense. I think he realizes what he’s been able to do and the success. You never know, if you go to another offense, maybe it doesn’t fit as well to your style. He fits very well here, and hopefully he stays here.”
“My job is to play,” he said., “and (team management’s job) is to put the right team out there.”