Wide receiver Victor Cruz is in “shopping” mode, a week after being released by the New York Giants.
Cruz, 30, visited the Carolina Panthers and general manager Dave Gettleman on Monday, a league source told the Charlotte Observer.
Cruz and Gettleman go back to the latter’s days in New York, when Gettleman was the Giants’ pro personnel director when the team signed Cruz as an undrafted free agent in 2010.
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The speedy slot receiver went on to post three straight seasons of at least 73 catches and 998 yards in each (including back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with 1,536 receiving yards in a 2011 campaign capped with a Super Bowl ring), complete with his signature salsa dance moves in the end zone that made him a fan favorite.
But a slew of injuries, including major knee surgery, meant Cruz lost his zest with the Giants. They released him to apparently cut costs, freeing up $7.5 million in cap space.
However, the Panthers have made it clear they’re in the hunt this offseason for players who can make an instant impact with the team, and Cruz believes he “has a lot of good football” ahead of him, according to an interview with the Giants’ team website last week.
Signing a veteran was the move for Carolina in 2014, when they gave receiver Jerricho Cotchery a two-year deal. That type of presence was obviously missed last season, when the Panthers finished 6-10.
According to The (Bergan County, N.J.) Record’s Art Stapleton, who spoke with Cruz on the phone later Monday afternoon as he was leaving Charlotte, the receiver said “it went well.”