It's time for the New York Giants to part ways with Victor Cruz
Nov 27, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) signals to fans during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Giants won 27-13. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the New York Giants season is over, it’s time for them to plan their strategy for the 2017 season. Whatever those plans may be, they should not include Victor Cruz.

It might be hard for New York Giants fans to accept this, but Victor Cruz’s best days are clearly behind him. He finished the year with just 39 receptions for 586 yards and one touchdown which he scored in Week 1.

Sterling Shepard has taken over as the second receiving option to Odell Beckham Jr., and he works primarily in the slot where Cruz used to occupy.

At 6-foot, 204 pounds, Cruz doesn’t have the size to win the physical one on one matchups on the outside, and he’s shown this season that he no longer has the speed or quickness to create separation.

In addition to his production being down, there’s also an issue when it comes to money. Cruz is set to make 7.5 million dollars next season with a cap number of 9.4 million.

There’s no way the Giants bring him back at that price. They could ask him to take another pay cut as they did prior to this season. But, the Giants have two younger receivers in Roger Lewis Jr. and Tavarres King, who are ready to play a bigger role in 2017. Bringing back Cruz would stunt their development.

At 30-years old, Cruz’s biggest asset to the Giants is supposed to be his veteran leadership and championship experience. But he failed in that aspect when he went with Odell, Shepard and Lewis Jr. in the ill-fated fated Miami trip after the regular season finale.

He should have taken the role as a mentor, and have told the younger players they needed to prepare for a playoff game, rather than partying in Miami and sparking a distraction. After all, he’s played with players such as Justin Tuck and should know what needs to be done to prepare for a playoff run.

There’s no denying what Cruz has meant to the Giants organization, and one day might be in their Ring Of Honor. But it’s time for the Giants to turn the page and move on.

The Giants will need to make a decision by March 11 or else they will have to pay Cruz a $1 million roster bonus.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.