Jets and Giants Both Playing the Soap Opera Game - NBC New York

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Jets and Giants Both Playing the Soap Opera Game

If Revis gets traded, Cruz's impasse with Giants will become an even bigger story



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    Mara's comments should have woken Cruz up a little bit.

    Free agency opens in the NFL on Tuesday afternoon and, as discussed last week, there isn't going to be too much in the way of big acquisitions for either of the teams that call themselves New York while playing in New Jersey. 

    The Jets signed quarterback David Garrard on Monday and may add another mediocre veteran quarterback, which doesn't so much excite you about the Jets season to come as it does further depress you about the state of the franchise. The Giants, meanwhile, signed defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins to take the place of Chris Canty in a sound football move that's low on the banner headline scale. 

    No worries, though, because their impasse with Victor Cruz should be good fodder for the tabloids in the weeks and months to come. The Giants officially issued a first-round tender to Cruz on Monday, an offer that would pay him a shade under $3 million in the absence of a long-term agreement unless another team signs him away with a deal the Giants choose not to match. 

    If that happens, the Giants would get a first-round pick but they'd also lose as popular and productive a player as anyone has stumbled blindly into in the history of the NFL. Owner John Mara made it quite clear on Monday that the Giants are prepared to say goodbye to Cruz if the wideout isn't willing to take what the Giants put on the table. 

    "At some point, if somebody’s willing to pay more than we’re willing to pay, then we’ll have to say goodbye. Certainly we have the wherewithal to match just about any offer. It's just a question of whether we want to do it and what the number is going to be," Mara said. "We’ve made him a very substantial offer, but his agent feels like he wants to test the market a little bit and that's his right to do that." 

    Mara wasn't always quite so respectful of Cruz's desires, sniffling that Cruz would be "wealthy" if he accepted what the Giants are willing to pay him, but these aren't times for kind words. It's all about rhetoric as two sides try to claim they want to be together more than anything else in the world while running in opposite directions. 

    We've gotten used to that over the years with the Jets and Darrelle Revis, a relationship that looks a lot closer to ending than it has at any other point. A clogged cornerback market and the need for the Jets to move forward, even with an awful team, are combining to light a fire to make a trade involving Revis ASAP and there are signs that it is close to happening. 

    It's a sad way for things to come to an end, although almost any other team would be able to spin not spending a ton of money on a routinely pouty-about-his-contract corner coming off a torn ACL into a positive thing for the team.

    The Jets, though, could make you look askance at free sex and bacon so this is much more about the way the Jets painted themselves into a corner over two previous negotiations with Revis. 

    If the Jets do pull the trigger, they'll be a story for a day or two and then it will be time for the Giants and Cruz to have the stage to themselves. It's a lot more likely than not that Cruz plays for the Giants in 2013, but there's a high chance that he'll be an unhappy camper and that the bad feelings generated now will create further problems down the road. 

    Cruz wants to be paid like a top wideout, something his numbers would support even if the Giants seem to think that Hakeem Nicks needs to top the wage scale on their team. That's not the kind of feeling that goes away, especially if Nicks signs an extension that would serve as a ceiling on Cruz's contract possibilities with the Giants. 

    There might not be any big acquisitions coming our way, although that hardly seems to get in the way of a little old-fashioned drama. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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