Call it the Tom Coughlin effect. Could former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz be reunited with his former head coach in Jacksonville? Cruz, who remains an unsigned free agent, is scheduled to meet with the Jacksonville Jaguars on May 23. Cruz, if signed, would join a crowded wide receiver unit that includes both Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee.
According to USA Today, a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the Jacksonville Jaguars hadn’t announced the visit with Cruz, 30, who was a premier slot threat from 2011 to 2013 with Coughlin’s New York Giants before injuries hit. Coughlin parted ways with the Giants after the 2015 season and joined the Jaguars’ front office as executive vice president of football operations in January.
After sitting out all of 2015, Cruz returned and caught 39 passes for 586 yards and a touchdown for the Giants last season. He is also scheduled to visit the Chicago Bears, according to NFL Network.
Cruz would certainly add a veteran presence to the wide receivers currently on the Jaguars’ roster and give quarterback Blake Bortles another red zone target.
For his career, Cruz has 303 catches for 4,549 yards and 25 touchdowns as an undrafted rookie signee out of UMass in 2010.
As an observer, I am not sure where Cruz fits into the equation in Jacksonville, a team that uses Robinson and Lee regularly and has Allen Hurns in the rotation as well. The Jaguars also have Arrelious Benn, Rashad Greene and Bryan Walters under contract and the team drafted Oklahoma wideout Dede Westbrook in the fourth round of the NFL Draft last month.
While the story on USA Today adds the move makes sense in helping Bortles become a more effective quarterback, it could mean one or more pass catchers will be released or traded. It is believed locally here in Jacksonville Westbrook could challenge for Greene’s spot on the roster – where he would have to learn to play in the slot. Also, Benn figures to be part of the return team unit and Walters is a possession-type receiver.