The New York Giants officially announced the release of WR Victor Cruz on Monday.
“Victor is one of the great stories of the National Football League,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “He came in here and earned everything that he’s gotten. It has been amazing to see him grow from an undrafted free agent to a Pro Bowl player and one of our go-to guys during the Super Bowl XLVI run. He will always be one of the great Giants.”
“It’s been an amazing journey,” Cruz said. “I pretty much grew up in front of the eyes of this entire organization. The Giants fan base, the community, my hometown, my family. I grew up there. It’s very much a family atmosphere and it’s very much like leaving your family. That’s what it feels like. I did some great things there. There are so many experiences, times and moments that I shared in that building with that team in that jersey. Those can’t be replaced or forgotten. I’m happy I have those moments to look back on.”
Cruz’s future with the Giants was obviously in doubt after another disappointing season and the fact that he was an easy source of cap space for New York.
Even so, Cruz had said that he was hoping to return to the Giants and was willing to take a pay cut. However, Ralph Vacchiano reports that the team never offered him the ability to restructure his contract this year.
It will be interesting to see what kind of market Cruz has in the coming weeks, as he’ll now have a head start to find a new team before free agency opens in March. One benefit to signing a street free agent like Cruz is that it won’t factor into a team’s compensatory picks.
Cruz, 30, originally signed on with the Giants as an undrafted free agent out of UMass back in 2010. He agreed to restructure his contract last year, which reduced his compensation to $1.3 million for the 2016 season. Cruz was set to make a base salary of $7.4 million in 2017.
According to OverTheCap.com, releasing will free up $7.5 million in available cap space while creating $1.9 million in dead money.
In 2016, Cruz appeared in 15 games for the Giants and caught 39 passes for 586 yards receiving and one touchdown. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 101 receiver out of 119 qualifying players.