Owner confident in Victor Cruz deal

NEW YORK -- An optimistic John Mara believes a long-term extension with Victor Cruz will be reached "at some point."

"It will get done at some point," the New York Giants co-owner said Monday at a Big Brothers Big Sisters gala event at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. "Just be patient."

Mara politely declined further comment.

The Giants and Cruz, a restricted free agent, have been unable to come to terms on a contract extension since last season. The star wide receiver did not receive an offer from any team before last Friday's deadline, when teams could attempt to sign Cruz to an offer sheet.

Cruz can now sign the one-year RFA first-round tender from the Giants for $2.879 million and continue to work on an extension to remain in New York. Or he could choose to hold out of this summer's mandatory veterans minicamp and training camp as another alternative in hopes of landing a lucrative contract.

If Cruz plays this season out on his one-year tender, he will become an unrestricted free agent next year. But the Giants can use their franchise tag on him in 2014.

Cruz, who was being honored at the event, did not comment on his contract situation. He did not attend last week's voluntary offseason workout program for the strength and conditioning phase.

Mara said last month that the Giants have made an offer that would make Cruz "a very wealthy young man." In his two seasons as a starter, Cruz has a total of 168 receptions for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns.

When asked about Cruz's absence last week, general manager Jerry Reese said he understood the circumstances.

"He is a free agent and doesn't have a contract, so he is not here," Reese said. "That is pretty cut and dry."

Reese said he will not allow himself to operate under the assumption that Cruz will be in uniform for the season opener simply because he doesn't want to assume anything in general.

"I don't assume anything," Reese said. "We will see. I can tell you this, when we get ready to play, when the season starts, we will have good players out there. I am not sure if Victor will be there or not, but I don't assume anything."

Like Mara, quarterback Eli Manning sounded optimistic that Cruz and the Giants will reach a deal that will keep the salsa-dancing Pro Bowl receiver in blue for a long time.

"I have a feeling I will see Victor here when the contract is done," Manning said last week of a potential long-term Cruz extension. "That is my gut feeling. I could be wrong. If he is back earlier, then that will be a bonus.

"I'm not going to prod [Cruz to show up to the voluntary offseason workout program]," added Manning, who shares the same agent, Tom Condon, with Cruz. "He has got to do what's in the best interest of him, and that's usually staying away and putting pressure to try to get the deal done."