"I'm excited, man," Cruz said during an appearance on Waddle & Silvy on ESPN Radio. "I'm excited to come and have a fresh start and a new home and a new place. I'm excited to work with [quarterback] Mike Glennon and coach [John] Fox and everyone there."
While calling his career with the Giants "amazing," Cruz said the opportunity to impact the Bears was the deciding factor in his decision.
"I just wanted to hear that I can have an opportunity to play," Cruz said of the free-agent process. "To come and be a direct impact to a football team. And Chicago showed me a lot of love. ... Everyone was adamant about how they felt I could contribute to the football team and be a factor immediately coming right in. And not just as a player but as someone who's been around football a long time and can come in and provide an insight to different teams and different nuances of the game. And I think Chicago presented the best opportunity for me."
"I looked at that receiver room and I saw a lot of young guys and a lot of talent in there as well," Cruz said. "A lot of guys that can benefit from just having someone like me in the room, to pick my brain and for me to tell them how I think we can get better."
Cruz, 30, joined the Giants as an undrafted free agent out of UMass in 2010 and quickly made his mark. He starred on their Super Bowl XLVI-winning team in 2011 and had 303 catches, 4,549 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns during his time with the Giants.
But injuries derailed his career with the Giants, who released him on Feb. 13. They did not make an effort to renegotiate his deal for a second straight season after he caught 39 passes for 586 yards and a touchdown; he had missed most of the previous two years because of injuries.
Cruz is 2½ years removed from major knee surgery and would have counted for $9.4 million against the Giants' salary cap in 2017. New York freed up $7.5 million in cap space with his release.
Cruz took a significant pay cut to return to the Giants last season. He still made $5.3 million and wanted to return this offseason to the only professional team he had known.
ESPN's Jordan Raanan contributed to this report.