Dave Gettleman was with the Giants’ front office when the team signed obscure receiver Victor Cruz as an undrafted free agent in 2010, and he might be the one to give Cruz another chance after the Giants parted ways with the 30-year-old.
A week after being released by the Giants in a widely anticipated move, Cruz met with the Panthers on Monday.
Gettleman, the Panthers’ general manager, could use a slot receiver with good leadership skills, especially after Carolina decided not to pursue one when they moved on from former Jets and Steelers receiver Jerricho Cotchery after the 2015 team reached the Super Bowl.
Cruz overcame knee and calf injuries that forced him to miss nearly two seasons before returning to play the entire 2016 season. He had 39 catches for 586 yards and one touchdown, playing mostly on the outside while rookie Sterling Shepard became the team’s primary slot receiver. Cruz had his best years playing mostly in the slot, helping the 2011 Giants during their Super Bowl run with 82 catches for a career-high 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns.
Cruz had only one more 1,000-yard season before suffering a knee injury in the sixth game of the 2014 season. He missed the rest of that season and also sat out 2015 because of a calf problem.
After being released by the Giants, Cruz said he believes he still has a few more productive NFL seasons left in him. Because he was released, he is free to sign with any team. The signing period for unrestricted free agents whose contracts have lapsed begins March 9.