Contracts were the talk of the NFL on Monday as Victor Cruz inked a deal to remain in New York while a few franchised players remain in limbo with the July 15 deadline approaching. At least two of those players appear unlikely to sign long-term deals in the next week. All of that and more as we catch up on Monday's NFL news.
After months of negotiations, Victor Cruz and the Giants finally agreed to an extension on Monday. Cruz was reportedly seeking a deal worth $11 million per season early in negotiations, but agreed to a five-year deal worth $43 million. The deal included more than $15 million guaranteed and locked up one of Eli Manning's top targets.
With Cruz signed, the attention in New York will turn to wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who will be a free agent after the season. As Ed Valentine of Big Blue View wrote, paying Nicks may prove to be a challenge in the wake of Cruz's deal.
Financially, it will be extremely difficult for the Giants to sign Nicks long-term once his contract runs out after the 2013 season. Nicks, commonly considered the Giants' No. 1 receiver since he plays the 'Z' position that generally draws the most attention from defenses, is likely to ask for a yearly salary well in excess of the $8.5 million annually the Giants are now paying Cruz.
The Broncos and Ryan Clady continue to negotiate in advance of the July 15 deadline to sign franchise players, but a deal could be getting close after Denver increased its offer. The Broncos offered Clady a five-year, $50 million deal last offseason and reportedly improved on that offer this week.
While Clady and the Broncos may be closer to a deal, Jairus Byrd is unlikely to sign an extension with the Bills before the deadline. According to a report, the Bills and Byrd's representatives are not currently negotiating and have no contract talks scheduled between now and the deadline.
Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings summed up the situation well:
Well alright, then. Let the skyrocketing of irritation and angst levels begin.
Like Byrd in Buffalo, Michael Johnson is unlikely to sign an extension before the deadline, according to the latest reports. The Bengals have salary-cap space to operate with, but the lack of a deal with Johnson may have something to do with the fact Geno Atkins, A.J. Green and others will be eligible for extensions soon.
Cincy Jungle's Josh Kirkendall wrote Atkins and Green may set Bengals or even NFL records with their extensions. The Bengals have prepared for this situation, but are obviously unwilling to meet Johnson's price tag. That wouldn't be the first time, as a number of the Bengals' franchised players have left the team not long after.
After he was arrested on Saturday on multiple charges, including driving under the influence, Broncos director of player personnel Matt Russell and the team issued statements on Monday.
Russell apologized to the organization, the fans and the NFL, calling his arrest an "inexcusable mistake." The Broncos' statement said the organization was extremely disappointed with the incident and would continue to gather information before handling the matter "appropriately and in accordance with all NFL policies."