The Broncos are looking for a third offensive weapon in 2017. With Victor Cruz now available, could he be an option for Denver?
America is just two weeks removed from the epic that was Superbowl LI, and yet, the NFL draft is already fast approaching. With the 2017 NFL Combine just two weeks away, teams across the league are rigorously scouting and planning for the draft in April to help address team needs.
Undoubtedly, the draft is the most advantageous way to fill holes in a teams roster and build for the future. However, there is always the element of the unknown. Is this corner athletic enough to go against NFL wide outs? Can this lineman put on more weight? How bad is this quarterbacks knee really?
These unknowns, in addition to experience, is why veteran free agents can be so valuable. While they may not always figure into long-term plans, free agent signings can be critical in filling requirements immediately for contending teams.
GM John Elway and the Denver Broncos have a number of issues they must attend to this off-season. They will no doubt try to address these through the draft, but with 31 other teams ready to ruin Elways plans, it’s no guarantee.
That’s why, the Broncos may be able to fill some areas of need with free agents this off-season. Specifically, Victor Cruz at wide receiver.
In an effort to create cap space, the New York Giants released veteran wide receiver Victor Cruz on Monday.
Cruz spent six seasons with the Giants, managing 303 receptions for 4,549 yards and 25 touchdowns in 75 career games. He was a key player for the Giants in their Superbowl XLVI victory over the Patriots, securing the teams only passing touchdown of the game.
The Broncos have lacked a legitimate tertiary receiving option since TE Julius Thomas signed with Jacksonville in 2015. It’s been even longer since the team had a quality third wide out to put behind Pro Bowl duo Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas and it’s something that caused issues this past season.
When news of Cruz’ release broke, there were almost immediate reports that the Broncos were working to meet with the veteran. Since then however, Mike Klis of 9news has dismissed the Broncos’ interest in Cruz.
Whether or not the Broncos are discussing the possibility of Victor Cruz in 2017 remains unclear, however, they should be.
As Jeff Legwold of ESPN noted, Cruz’ 39 receptions last season would have ranked third in Denver, behind Thomas’ 90 catches and Sanders’ 79. Rookie running back Devontae Booker had the third most receptions for the Broncos last season with 31.
Another aspect to consider when talking about Cruz as an option is health. In 2014, the wide out suffered a torn patella tendon before going down with a serious calf injury. He missed over two years of football before making his return in week 1 of the 2016 season.
Despite these injuries, Cruz hasn’t actually missed all that much football. He played 15 games this season, 6 last season, and had totals of 14, 16 and 16 before that.
Cruz did turn 30 years old in November of last year, but showed a good bill of health in 2016.
The Broncos need to find a third weapon on offense. While Cruz may not be the answer long-term, he could be a solid option in 2017.