Cruz got that shot in 2016, playing in 15 games and starting in 12. Despite a big play here and there, the one-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion was a shell of his former self. He had 39 catches on 72 targets for 586 yards and only one touchdown.
Cruz’s loyalists would argue that he didn’t receive enough targets, that the focus was on Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard. His supporters argued that Cruz’s decline in production was due to him being better suited for the slot and not the outside. Whatever the case may be, Cruz lost snaps to undrafted free agents Roger Lewis and Tavarres King.
A few days later on Feb. 7, Cruz stated to the Post that he needed to tell the Giants his worth, “something’s wrong“. Then came the report from NJ.com on Feb. 8 that the Giants haven’t had any contact with their Salsa King since Big Blue got thrashed by the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card bombardment. Anyone who’s been let go from their job can tell you, silence is deadly.
It’s a sad day for the majority of Giants fans as the promise and potential of having Cruz and Odell Beckham on the same field at the same time never fully panned out. Surely, Giants faithful would still love to see Cruz contribute in some way, but that ship has sailed.
As former head coach Tom Coughlin would say, it’s “next man up” for the Giants at the wide receiver position. Who will that be? Is it the aforementioned Roger Lewis or Tavarres King? Does Dwayne Harris step back into the fold? Or will it be one of the top free agent wide receivers? Or will they use another top draft pick on a top receiver?
One would hope they’d pursue a big body similar to Plaxico Burress to maximize red zone efficiency. Here’s to one final “Cruuuz!”