It appears that entertainment mogul Jay-Z's budding influence on the sports world is about to help wide receiver Victor Cruz stay with the New York Giants.
Cruz, who has spent more than a year haggling with the franchise over a long-term deal, not only was moved to Creative Artists Agency through his relationship with Jay-Z, but has told at least two people that he plans to stay with the Giants long-term. Cruz, according to two sources, wants to take advantage of the business and marketing opportunities he envisions with Roc Nation, the marketing company Jay-Z (whose real name is Shawn Carter) founded.
"[Cruz] told his agents not to sign him with another team because he wants to work with Jay-Z," a source said. "There might have been a couple of teams interested, but he didn't want to go anywhere."
The Giants did not respond to Yahoo! Sports for a comment on the situation.
[Related: Jay-Z working to become NBA agent]
Cruz is a restricted free agent who the Giants gave a first-round tender to this offseason after the sides failed to work out a long-term contract. Shortly after Cruz was tagged with the tender, he changed agents from Malik Shareef to CAA. A second source said Cruz had no desire to leave the Giants and made no attempt to get an offer from another team this offseason.
Agent Ben Dogra, one of CAA's top football agents along with Tom Condon, confirmed that Jay-Z helped bring Cruz to CAA.
"Yes," Dogra said via text. "Great guy."
Jay-Z made news recently by signing New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and is in the middle of divesting himself of his minority share with the Brooklyn Nets to become an agent representing NBA players. Jay-Z has also partnered with CAA in the venture.
Cruz, who has been developing his own clothing line, grew up in Paterson, N.J., just outside New York City. He has become a strong marketing presence over the past two years with his combination of strong play on the field, salsa-dancing touchdown celebrations and sparkling smile. In addition, Cruz found stardom after being an undrafted free agent from the University of Massachusetts.
Perhaps the bigger question now is what impact Jay-Z will have in recruiting other players for CAA. Additionally, CAA is rumored to be interested in acquiring IMG.
"… If you bring a kid to a meeting and Jay-Z is there, he could be a hell of a closer," an agent said.
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