The Next Victor Cruz Contract, v2.0

The Next Victor Cruz Contract, v2.0
Untitled Document

Contract Forecast: Victor Cruz 2.0

As we roll along this 2013 NFL offseason one of the more standout question marks hangs in the balance of the New York Giants - who will see both Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks hit the unrestricted free agent market next season should they not sign extensions. Many, ourselves included, thought a long-term deal for Cruz would be signed and filed by April 2013. But here we are six months removed from our original contract forecast for the dynamic receiver.

The Giants have placed a 1st Round tender of $2.879 million on Cruz for 2013 (a placement many thought may interest other teams in making an offer for). With no offer, and no apparent interest from Cruz in signing that tender, it's safe to assume a deal is within close reach. Even Eli Manning has recently chimed in on getting his playmaker signed and into the offseason workouts as soon as possible.

That being said, negotiations between the Giants and Cruz have been a bit tumultuous, with the sides seemingly 3-4 million per year apart at times. Cruz's camp has been asking for the likes of a $12M/yr deal , with the Giants looking to give only $8M per year from the deal.

We'll readdress our forecast for Cruz, including updating variable receivers, new contracts (falling into the 11/12 million per year average Cruz is asking for), and his most recent statistical performance to garner a value signing.

Comparable Wide Receivers
Cruz is now 26 (November 11), the standard age for sophomore contracts to be signed, and the identical age of Mike Wallace, our best target receiver for this prediction. To determine a more likely starting point for our numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of each contract breakdown listed below.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Age When Signed
Mike Wallace 5 $60 million $12,000,000 26
Dwayne Bowe 5 $56 million $11,200,000 27
Percy Harvin 6 $67 million $11,166,667 24
Desean Jackson 5 $47 million $9,400,000 25
Averages 5.25 $57,500,000 $10,941,667 27

Note: A linear regression is a formula that plots the provided points of data for Length and Value of the contracts, and then generates the best-fit line for those points, resulting in a "slope" value that translates to an average annual salary.

View the list of Top Average Paid Wide Receivers in the NFL

Because Victor (26) is younger than Bowe, and older than Harvin/Jackson at the times of their signings, we'll adjust the above contracts up/down to his age by adding/subtracting from the overall years to make each variable player 26 years old. Once a linear regression is performed on these new numbers we're given the following terms to begin with:

Length Value Avg. Salary (slope)
5 $55,498,208 $11,099,642
Statistical Analyzations, Prime Percentage
Now let's analyze these players statistically in the year prior to signing their second contract by showing Games Played, Receptions, Receiving Yards, Receiving Yards/Game, and Receiving TD.
Player Games Receptions Rec Yards REC Yards/Game REC TD
Mike Wallace (2011-12, ,PIT) 15.5 68 1014 65.15 8
Percy Harvin (2010-11, MIN) 15 79 917.6 61.2 5.5
Desean Jackson (2010-11 PHI) 14.5 52.5 1008.5 69.75 5
Dwayne Bowe (2011-12, KC) 14.5 70 980 67 4
Averages 14.875 67.375 980.025 65.775 5.625
Victor Cruz (2011-12, NYG)16 84 1314 75.1 9.5
% Difference 107.56% 124.68% 134.08% 114.18% 168.89%
Our results here show that, just like in our last assessment of Cruz, he generates elite numbers across the board. He's easily the top of this variable class, especially where it counts most - Touchdowns. We'll factor his slight Prime Percentage of 120.21%, into our previously determined base numbers.
Guaranteed Money
Cruz has shown the 3 major keys to earning himself a highly guaranteed contract: Scoring, Growth, and Durability. A linear regression on the variable contracts used in this analyzation provides us with the percent of money Victor should receive as true guaranteed with this new extension.
Player Value True Guarantees % Guaranteed
Mike Wallace $60,000,000 $27,000,000 45%
Percy Harvin $67,000,000 $14,500,000 21.6%
Desean Jackson $47,000,000 $15,000,000 31.9%
Dwayne Bowe $56,000,000 $20,000,000 35.7%
Adjusted Regression 33.55%

Length of the Contract
The going length of a sophomore wide receiver contract age 26 or greater has been 5 years. There's no reason to believe Cruz will get a 6th, unless that's the compromise the Giants provide to reduce his annual salary. We'll use 5 years for our forecast.

Value of the Contract
While Cruz has clearly earned the market maximum - plus incentives based on his last 2 years performance, it's become clear that the Giants aren't willing to - or for cap purposes simply can't provide that maximum annual salary at this point. Our BASE regression of contracts for receivers in his age/talent class left us with an $11M/year starting point. The Giants don't appear williing to even meet that. Adding in 120% more for his two-year statistical prime to this base value will add a great deal more to these figures.

Thoughts Based on the Giants Demands
The bottom line here is Cruz is set to be heavily underpaid by accepting a compromised extension with the Giants this offseason. His production alone places him in the $12M per year discussion; with age, charisma, and durability still left to factor in. Our assumption is the compromise will come in two ways: An additional year on the deal (up to 6), and a maximimum amount of guaranteed money. Our variable averages gave us a figure of 33.5% in guarantees to draw from the overall value. Our GUESS is this will end up being more like 43-45%, in order to ensure that at the very least, he's making more money guaranteed than the likes of Bowe and Wallace.

This being said, our formula is to forecast a player's contract based on the combination of financial and stasticial value. Without tinkering or adjusting based on the Giants apparent demands, our updated prediction for Victor Cruz is:

Spotrac's Prediction: 5 years, $62,157,993
  •  Average annual salary: $12,431,599
  •  Guaranteed: $18,942,151 (33.5%)