There’s a new free agent on the market: the New York Giants just released veteran receiver Victor Cruz. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers needing a receiver (or two), it would make sense for them to at least look at him.
Usually, being released during the offseason isn’t a great indicator of future production. Cruz might be a minor exception: releasing him saves the Giants almost $10 million in salary cap space, which is the main reason for his release. Cruz was also still reasonably productive last year, catching 39 passes for 586 yards and one touchdown in fifteen games.
At his best, Cruz was a monstrously productive speed receiver. He caught 82 passes for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns in his first real season in the league, but that was back in 2011. Since then he’s consistently declined, in part because of injuries that saw him miss most of 2014 and all of 2015.
Signing Cruz now would be a bit of a gamble, but not a massive one. He’s not likely to be very expensive, and the Bucs have actually had a bit of a thing for aging veterans coming off injuries in recent years, with mixed success. Cruz would fit that strategy, too.
The bigger question is whether Cruz would fit the Bucs’ current roster. They do need a speed receiver, but those injuries sapped much of his. And what they really need is someone to play on the outside, while Cruz was often best in the slot.
All of that isn’t that important, though. The Bucs currently have two productive receivers: Mike Evans and Adam Humphries. That’s it, and it’s not remotely good enough. The Bucs are likely to draft someone, and they could look at free agency too, but they could do worse than giving Victor Cruz a shot, too.
Just don’t expect him to be a savior.