As expected, the New York Giants announced on Monday that they have released wide receiver Victor Cruz, as well as veteran running back, Rashad Jennings. Even though the release of Cruz comes as little surprise, it still leaves many fans heartbroken to know that they won’t see No. 80 doing any salsa dances for Big Blue.
The release of Victor Cruz and Rashad Jennings is an indication that general manager Jerry Reese, as well as the Giants organization, are officially in off-season mode.
New York Giants Release Victor Cruz and Rashad Jennings
By parting ways with fan favorite receiver Victor Cruz and veteran running back Rashad Jennings, the Giants will have cleared a combined $10 million in cap space for 2017 – with $7.5 million coming from Cruz and $2.5 million from Jennings. According to Over The Cap, this move will give the Giants roughly $34 million in cap space to work with this offseason.
Cruz, 30, made his much anticipated return in 2016 following two potential career threatening injuries in 2014 (torn patellar tendon) and 2015 (calf injury). Unfortunately, his return didn’t have the impact many fans were hoping for on offense. He often struggled to get separation from defenders due to his inability to explode off the line of scrimmage, something we’ve never seen before from Cruz. It eventually led to head coach Ben McAdoo reducing his number of snaps. Cruz finished the 2016 season with a lackluster 36 receptions for 586 yards receiving and one touchdown.
The Giants signed Cruz as an undrafted free agent out of UMass in 2010. He would go on to make a lasting impression on Giant fans during a preseason game against the New York Jets where he had six catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns. Cruz would finish the preseason leading the NFL in receiving yards with 297, and earning a spot on the Giants 53-man roster. Cruz would later go on to help the Giants win Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, and was selected to his only Pro Bowl that same season. In six seasons with the Giants, Cruz had 303 receptions for 4,549 yards receiving and 25 touchdowns.
Jennings, who turns 32 next month, started 28 games for the Giants over the past two seasons. Jennings was set to make $2.5 million in 2017, his final year of a four-year contract. The veteran running back would’ve counted for $3 million against the Giants cap in 2017.
The New York Giants signed Rashad Jennings in 2014 to a four-year, $14 million deal. In his first season with the Giants, Jennings started nine out eleven games rushing for 639 yards on 167 carries, while rushing for four touchdowns. Then in 2015, Jennings set career highs in carries, rushing yards, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, while starting all 16 games. He finished 2015 with 863 yards rushing on 195 carries, along with three touchdowns. He also had 296 yards receiving with one touchdown on 29 receptions. Jennings saw a decline in production in 2016, as well as playing time with the emergence of rookie running back, Paul Perkins. He finished 2016 with 593 yards rushing with three touchdowns on 181 carries.
With over twenty players from the Giants roster expected to hit some form of free agency next month, New York could look to clear up additional cap space by releasing running back Shane Vereen, linebacker J.T. Thomas and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, saving the team another $11.7 million in cap space.