By Nick Shook
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Cruz was cut by the Giants on Feb. 13 after seven seasons in New York that began with an out-of-nowhere preseason campaign in 2010. The receiver dealt with injury-related struggles in 2014 and 2015, but bounced back to catch 39 passes for 586 yards and a touchdown as a third option in New York’s receiving corps in 2016. The season was a disappointing end to Cruz’s time as a Giant, but proved he still could hack it, which should have at least a handful of needy teams lining up to speak with him about potential employment.
Carolina is looking to fill a hole created by the impending departure of unrestricted free agent Ted Ginn, and faces the potential of losing two of Cam Newton‘s targets with Corey “Philly” Brown entering restricted free agency. Both Cruz and Ginn are speedy wideouts, though Cruz is the better receiver, and with Carolina’s estimated salary-cap space in excess of $50 million (per contract-monitoring site Spotrac.com), Ginn’s estimated market value of more than $4 million makes Cruz a more attractive option. Carolina could also use a sure-handed wideout opposite Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess, especially in the slot, where the Panthers have harbored a minor weakness.
Cruz has plenty of other suitors to give a minute or 90 to in the coming weeks — Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville are all possibilities, as is Baltimore — so this is only the beginning of exploring where he salsa dances next.