Wide receiver is a bit of a conundrum at Halas Hall these days. Chicago’s decision to let Alshon Jeffery walk in free agency stripped the club of its top weapon in the vertical passing game. Say what you want about Jeffery’s soft-tissue problems and four-game PED suspension, he was by far the best receiver in the building since Brandon Marshall left town.
Cruz, 30, had a couple terrific years in New York (2011-12), but underwhelmed the past three seasons, mostly because of injuries. Cruz is 2½ years removed from major knee surgery.
Last year, Cruz caught 39 passes for 586 yards and one touchdown in 15 games. He leaves New York with 53 career starts, 303 receptions, 4,549 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns.
Now in Chicago, Cruz joins a group of receivers riddled with question marks. The Bears also released veteran slot receiver Eddie Royal on May 11.
Here’s a quick look at the rest of the Bears’ veteran wideouts on their 90-man offseason roster.
Cameron Meredith: Meredith, 24, had a breakout year for the Bears with 66 catches for 888 yards and four touchdowns. The 6-foot-3 receiver is entering his third NFL season and the arrow is clearly pointing up.
Kevin White: The seventh overall pick of the 2015 draft, White has played in only four regular-season games because of left leg fractures.
Markus Wheaton: Wheaton averaged 17 yards per catch for the Steelers in 2015, but he appeared in only three games in 2016.
Kendall Wright: Another former first-rounder, Wright had 94 receptions for 1,079 yards in Tennessee in 2013, but a career-low 29 catches in 2016.
Rueben Randle: Randle last played in a regular-season game for the Giants in 2015, when he caught 57 passes for 797 yards and eight touchdowns.
Daniel Braverman: Last year’s seventh-round pick, Braverman (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) appeared in three games as a rookie.
Josh Bellamy: Pressed into wide receiver duty last year because of injuries, Bellamy finished 2016 with 19 catches for 282 yards. Bellamy is a big-time contributor on special teams.
Deonte Thompson: In the same category as Bellamy. Thompson is primarily a return man, but chipped in with 22 receptions for 249 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Titus Davis: Davis bounced around with several clubs since 2015 – the Chargers, Jets and Bills. He was born in Wheaton, Illinois, and attended Central Michigan.