Graziano points out that Cruz is scheduled to have the second-highest cap figure among Giants’ players for the 2015 season, and he will be coming off of a tore the patellar tendon.
Beyond that, Graziano mentions that none of Cruz’s remaining salaries are guaranteed, so the Giants could actually have some leverage when it comes to reworking his contract.
Odell Beckham Jr. put together an impressive rookie season and looks like the team’s clear-cut No. 1 receiver moving forward. With this in mind, there could be some pressure on Cruz to return to his previous form next season given that he makes an annual salary of $8.6 million.
According to Grazinao, it may be in the Giants’ best salary-cap interest to seek a reduction, even though asking Cruz to take less could ultimately alienate one of the team’s best players.
Cruz, 28, signed a six-year, $45.879 million contract that included $15.625 million guaranteed with the Giants back in July of 2013. He still has another four years remaining on this agreement, which includes base salaries of: $6.15 million (2015), $7.9 million (2016), $7.4 million (2017), and $8.4 million (2018).
Releasing Cruz outright would only free up $2.425 million in cap space for the 2014 season, so that seems like an unlikely option for the Giants. However, that number grows to $6.1 million in 2016, according to OverTheCap.com.
In 2014, Cruz finished the year with 23 receptions for 337 yards receiving and one touchdown over the course of six games.