After being released by the New York Giants, Victor Cruz visits with the Carolina Panthers looking to add salsa to Cam Newton's diet. The Giants save an estimated $7.5 million on the salary cap, as they attempt to maximize financial flexibility before free agency begins in March. Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman was the pro personnel director in NY when Cruz was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2010. Now the wide receiver is on the open market, and the Carolina Panthers seem to be-and should be-in play for his services. Cruz visiting the Panthers makes sense since the Panthers have a Giants connection. Both his receptions and yardage totals are 10th in Giants history, and his 25 touchdowns are 17th.
Undrafted out of the University of MA in 2010, Cruz became a star in 2011 with 1,536 receiving yards and nine touchdowns during the team's most recent Super Bowl season.
However, he was derailed in 2014 when he suffered a torn patellar tendon in his knee and missed the entire 2015 season after suffering a calf injury while rehabbing his knee. He would follow this up with another 1,000-yard season, and fall just short in 2013 with 998 receiving yards.
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The Giants cut Cruz on February 13 after seven seasons with the team.
His role had been diminished late last season as a third option behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. The following year, Cruz got within two yards of 1,000 despite missing two games. From an undrafted free agent playing for a team 15 minutes from where he grew up, to a relative unknown bursting on to the scene against the Jets in the preseason, to a star receiver on a Super Bowl winning team, Cruz has had a lasting impact on the Giants organization and their many fans around the country.