NEW YORK (WFAN) -- Giants quarterback Eli Manning hopes -- check that, believes -- he'll still have Victor Cruz as a teammate in 2013.
Manning has been in contact with the wide receiver, who could land with another team as a restricted free agent.
"We're kind of talking about our planning and when we're going to start working out, when we're going to start throwing and getting ready for this upcoming season," Manning told WFAN's Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton on Wednesday. "And honestly, I hope that he's with the Giants."
That goes without saying.
The Giants' leading receiver for the past two seasons, Cruz emerged from obscurity in 2011 to set a franchise record with 1,536 yards, and followed that up with 1,092 yards in 2012.
Manning believes Cruz -- who wants a significant raise -- will be playing in New York next season.
"I do, I do. I think (that's) what I have to believe and what I want to believe, just because he's such an important part of our offense," he said.
The Giants have the right to match any offer to Cruz. The team will get a first-round pick as compensation if the 26-year-old native of Paterson, N.J., signs elsewhere.
No first-round RFAs have received an offer sheet since 2003. Cruz's tender is worth $2.879 million, which would be torn up if the Giants can negotiate a new long-term deal.
"I think he wants to be in New York, you know, in his hometown," Manning said. "So I hope it all works out."
As for restructuring his contract, Manning said there have been "no conversations on that matter yet."
"I don't know if it'll come up or not, but (I'm) just kind of waiting on their call, if they want to do that or not," he told Boomer and Carton.
Will the Eli-Vic connection remain intact for 2013? Sound off in the comments...
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