Former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz is still a free agent well over 5 weeks after the start of the new league year. The 30-year-old missed almost two years due to injury and didn’t have the same explosiveness when he returned in 2016, but there should still be an eventual market for his services.
Cruz might not have the same short-area quickness that made him a Pro Bowler during the 2012 season, but he’s still a proven route runner who can make an impact out of the slot. And that could make him a great fit for teams like the Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers.
The Broncos have been lacking a clear No. 3 options behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders since Wes Welker. They haven’t had a receiver finish with more than 250 receiving yards in either of the last two seasons and they simply need to give their young quarterbacks more options.
If Cruz can give the Broncos even as much production as he gave the Giants in 2016 (39 catches for 586 yards) that’d be significant for the Broncos. And considering that he’s still unsigned this deep into free agency, he can likely be had for a reasonable price.
The Lions are reportedly interested in bringing Anquan Boldin back and that might be the more convenient option because he was there in 2016 and he knows the system. However, Cruz is significantly younger.
And, while he might not be the same threat that he once was, he’s also a quicker option out of the slot. If Boldin is poached or if they decide they want to go another direction, Cruz could be a wonderful fit.
The Panthers have got to do more to help Cam Newton and that means giving him better options. They’ve got size on the outside in Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess, but Cruz would give them a polished route runner who could be useful to Newton in the middle of the field in critical passing situations.
We’re at the point now where Cruz is probably better off waiting out the draft and seeing how it impacts the marketplace. But, if the Broncos don’t add help at wide receiver early, they’ve got to consider an option like Cruz to make their passing offense more diverse.