Dave Gettleman helped find Victor Cruz a home once before. Seven years later, it could happen again.
According to a league source, Cruz, who was released last week in a cost-cutting move by the Giants, arrived in Carolina this weekend for a visit with Gettleman and the Panthers. He spent a chunk of Monday at Bank of America Stadium, but a source said, Cruz isn’t rushing the process and a deal isn’t imminent.
That the Panthers are at least kicking the tires on Cruz makes plenty of sense.
First, there’s the Giants connection.
Gettleman was in the team’s front office when they signed Cruz as an undrafted free agent in 2010. The move sparked a rags-to-riches story that saw Cruz put up back-to-back 1,000-yard years beginning with the Giants’ 2011 Super Bowl-winning season.
Cruz would fit a position of need for the Panthers, who are looking for help in the slot after not replacing Jerricho Cotchery’s touches in 2016. Cruz could also fill the mentor role missing from last season’s wide receivers’ room.
But while Cruz believes he has “a lot of good football left ahead of me,” the Panthers have to decide how much that tread is worth.
Since tearing his patellar tendon midway through 2014, Cruz has totaled just 923 yards in 21 games. And late this past season, he lost some snaps to Tavarres King, who’s played in only nine regular-season games since the Panthers cut him ahead of the 2014 season.
Because Cruz was released by the Giants, he’s not an unrestricted free agent, which means teams don’t have to wait until the start of the new league year on March 9 to sign him.