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 made a free-agent visit to the Panthers on Monday, the Black and Blue Review reports. Cruz's meeting with the Panthers comes after he was released by the Giants last week. While Cruz left Carolina without 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 Cruz's recent decline, the 30-year-old could add needed experience to Carolina's receiving corps, which lacked an impactful slot option this past season.
Cruz was released by the Giants on Monday, Art Stapleton of The Record reports. Cruz caught 39 passes for 586 yards and a touchdown in 15 games played this season, which came after he suited up for merely six contests in the previous two campaigns combined. Although Cruz proved his health by only missing one game in 2016, his season-end 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 apparently 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.
Cruz caught three of four targets for 30 yards in the Giants' wild card loss Sunday. Cruz finished the season with 39 catches for 586 yards and one score in 15 games. He averaged a robust 15.0 YPC and a passable 8.1 YPT and made three catches of 40-plus yards, but at 30 and with Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard in the fold, Cruz's future in New York is in doubt.
Cruz secured eight of 13 targets for 84 yards in Thursday's 24-19 loss to the Eagles. The veteran receiver turned in his most prolific performance of the season on a night when Eli Manning put the ball up a whopping 63 times. Cruz saw a season high in targets and converted those into the most catches he's notched in 2016, while also notching a 29-yard long reception for the second consecutive week. The production was particularly encouraging, considering that Cruz had not recorded more than one reception in any game over the last six. His veteran savvy could come in handy in what is shaping up as a pivotal Week 17 tilt versus the Redskins.
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