Wide Receiver Victor Cruz was released by the New York Giants, but the Arizona Cardinals should avoid signing him
The biggest story-line of this off-season for the Arizona Cardinals is, and will continue to be, the pending roster turnover going into the 2017 season. With free agents everywhere, there are definitely going to be some new faces at more than one position next year.
One of the positions that needs to be addressed, and that isn’t affected by free agency, is wide receiver. With Larry Fitzgerald possibly entering his final season, and former heir apparent Michael Floyd gone, they are in need of some help. They could use a high draft pick to fill that need, but with so many other spots in need of a talent influx, including quarterback, the could look to free agency to find another receiver.
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The Giants released veteran receiver Victor Cruz today, and inevitably, fans of nearly every team started wondering if he could be a target for their teams. Naturally, with the Cardinals needing another player there, Cruz seems like a possibility. He shouldn’t, however, be on their radar.
Cruz was one of the great stories in the NFL, coming out of nowhere to become a huge star. After going undrafted out of Massachusetts, he was signed by the Giants, but sat out most of his first year due to injury. He burst onto the scene in 2011, recording 82 catches for over 1,500 yards and 9 touchdowns. He had another 1,000 yards the following year, with 10 scores.
Injuries derailed what was on track to be a great career. In 2014, Cruz suffered a season-ending injury that cost him 10 games. The next year, he was injured again, and missed the entire season. He did play in 2016, but wasn’t as explosive, and had 39 receptions, 586 yards, and 1 touchdown.
The wide receiver position seemed like a strength going in to last season. Unfortunately, Floyd was released, and injuries slowed down others. JJ Nelson was their best receiver outside of Fitzgerald, and he was never meant to be more than a situational player.
Certainly, a free agent receiver makes some sense, but adding a 30-something player who has missed two of the last three seasons isn’t a sound strategy. Cruz is clearly not the same player he was three years ago. His ability to take the top off a defense is diminished, and that, by itself, makes him a less than ideal fit in Arizona.
Cruz will find a home in 2017, probably for a team that wants a savvy veteran who can play, and contribute, in limited snaps. The Cardinals need a true number two receiver across from Larry Fitzgerald. They should pass on Cruz.