After missing the majority of the 2015 season, Cruz maintained his health last year, recording 39 receptions for 586 yards and one touchdown in 15 games. The drop in production paired with a $9.4 million salary was enough for the Giants to part ways with the 30-year-old back in February. Now headed to Chicago, Cruz will look to stand out in a group of mediocre receivers that lacks a true No. 1 target. He'll be competing with new additions Kendall Wright and Markus Wheaton for a spot behind Kevin White (leg) and Cameron Meredith on the depth chart.
Cruz will visit with the Bears on Monday, The Record's Art Stapleton reports.
According to Stapleton, the Ravens are also interested in signing Cruz, who returned from an absence of nearly two years to catch 39 of 72 targets for 586 yards and a touchdown in 15 games for the Giants last season. Baltimore would give Cruz a better shot to earn a significant role than Chicago, as the Bears already signed Kendall Wright and Markus Wheaton to join Kevin White (leg) and Cameron Meredith in the receiving corps. The Ravens only have one wide receiver, Mike Wallace, with more than 33 career receptions.
Cruz is unlikely to re-sign with the Giants, ESPN's Dan Graziano reports.
Cruz was released by the Giants in February and visited with the Panthers shortly thereafter, but he doesn't seem to have many suitors around the league. While a return to New York can't entirely be ruled out, he'd probably need to accept a veteran's minimum contract and then compete for a spot at the bottom of the depth chart. The best Cruz can hope for is a modest one-year deal that gives him a shot to compete for a job as a No. 3/4 receiver. It sounds like he'll need to venture outside New York for that to happen.
Cruz's meeting with the Panthers comes after he was released by the Giants last week. While it remains to be seen whether his visit will result in him signing a contract, which he's free to do at any time this offseason, his history with Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman could bode in the team's favor. Gettleman was a member of the Giants' front office when the club signed Cruz as an undrafted free agent in 2010. Although injuries have largely contributed toward his recent decline, Cruz's veteran presence and ability to play the slot position could bolster Carolina's receiving options.
Cruz caught 39 passes for 586 yards and a touchdown in 15 games played this season, which came after knee and calf injuries restricted him to just six appearances over the previous two campaigns combined. Although Cruz proved his health by only missing one game in 2016, his season-ending totals clearly couldn't justify his $9.4 million salary cap hit for 2017. Knowing that, Cruz hoped to be able to return to the Giants on a restructured deal, but the team decided to move on from him after seven seasons, which included over 300 catches, 4,500 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns. While Cruz being released leaves the Giants in obvious need of a No. 3 wideout ahead of next season, the 30-year-old veteran will now have a head start on considering his options in free agency next month.
|P2||8/19/17||@ ARI||10:00 pm|
|P3||8/27/17||@ TEN||1:00 pm|
|2||9/17/17||@ TB||1:00 pm|
|4||9/28/17||@ GB||8:25 pm|
|6||10/15/17||@ BAL||1:00 pm|
|8||10/29/17||@ NO||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 9|
|12||11/26/17||@ PHI||1:00 pm|
|14||12/10/17||@ CIN||1:00 pm|
|15||12/16/17||@ DET||4:30 pm|
|17||12/31/17||@ MIN||1:00 pm|
|2010||New York Giants||3||0||0||0||---||0||0||0||0||0|
|2011||New York Giants||16||7||82||1536||18.7||99||9||25||9||59|
|2012||New York Giants||16||16||86||1092||12.7||80||10||12||3||52|
|2013||New York Giants||14||12||73||998||13.7||70||4||10||3||45|
|2014||New York Giants||6||6||23||337||14.7||61||1||7||1||13|
|2015||New York Giants||0||0||0||0||---||0||0||0||0||0|
|2016||New York Giants||15||12||39||586||15.0||48||1||10||3||25|
|2010||New York Giants||3||0||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2011||New York Giants||16||7||1||3||3.0||3||0||0||0|
|2012||New York Giants||16||16||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2013||New York Giants||14||12||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2014||New York Giants||6||6||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2015||New York Giants||0||0||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2016||New York Giants||15||12||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2010||New York Giants||3||0||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2011||New York Giants||16||3||2||12||4.0||11||0||0|
|2012||New York Giants||16||0||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2013||New York Giants||14||0||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2014||New York Giants||6||0||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2015||New York Giants||0||0||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2016||New York Giants||15||0||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2010||New York Giants||3||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2011||New York Giants||16||2||2.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2012||New York Giants||16||2||2.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2013||New York Giants||14||4||4.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2014||New York Giants||6||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2015||New York Giants||0||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2016||New York Giants||15||2||2.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2010||New York Giants||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2011||New York Giants||16||1||1||0||1||0||0||1||0|
|2012||New York Giants||16||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2013||New York Giants||14||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2014||New York Giants||6||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2015||New York Giants||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2016||New York Giants||15||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|