The Chicago Bears reported for training camp, and the competition will now begin in the battle for roster spots on the team over the next few weeks. While the Bears have lacked depth for years now, there is a bit more added to the depth charts thanks to the drafting and signing by GM Ryan Pace, thus there will be a bit more competition than usual.

Within the current camp roster is veteran WR victor cruz, who for the first time in his career will begin an NFL season with another team. Cruz (30) has been with the New York Giants and Eli Manning since signing with them as an undrafted free agent in 2010.

While he got off to a great start in his career, he later battled injuries and was not the same. After the Giants parted ways with him, he met with the Chicago Bears and signed a one-year $1.5 million deal. He may not be the missing link to a championship by any means, but a change of scenery and Fresh Start may benefit him, but it is easier said than done.

Great first impression

When Cruz came into the league in 2010 he only played in three games, but it is what he did in the following two years that made his name known among football fans. In 2011 he was part of the Giants team that won the Super Bowl, getting through the 15-1 Packers, San Francisco 49ers, and the great Tom Brady. Cruz played in all 16 games, racking up 1,536 yards with 9 touchdowns while targeted 131 times.

In the playoffs he scored a touchdown with 269 yards in four games, coming up big with some key catches in the playoffs.

The following year Cruz won Pro Bowl honors with 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns in 16 games. Then things started to go south for him after suffering injuries, including a torn tendon in his knee that caused him to miss most of 2014, and he did not play in 2015, as he tore his fascia before he even got a chance to play following rehab.

Last year he finally played again, scoring one touchdown and recording 586 yards. 21 games in the last three years is a big drop after playing 56 games from 2011-2013. While he clearly has talent, his value has completely changed since those injures, and now he is only worth a one-year deal in terms of signing with a team.

New role

Cruz comes to Chicago as a fill-in veteran move. A few years ago this would be a huge free agent splash and probably one worth multiple years and way more than $1.5 million. The team is continuing to get younger, and has guys will little experience in the NFL and certainly not a lot of experience in big games. Cruz has been in high pressure situations, and having a veteran like him can help out the younger players despite not being the player he once was.

Is he the number one target for the Bears' QBs on the field? No. The team is looking at finally getting out of Kevin White what they wanted and also appear to be high on Cameron Meredith -- who had a solid season last year. Cruz would be a guy to come in as a third-string WR to go to for a pass either late in a game or to give the other guys a series off in a not-so-critical moment in a game.

He will probably not do as much "Salsa Dancing" as he once did, but at least he is a good option to have as a depth piece.


While he will be playing for a spot on the roster, there is not guarantee he makes it even if his chances look decent. As previously mentioned, White and Meredith are high on the list and pretty much locked to make it. The Bears also acquired veterans Kendall Wright and Markus Wheaton -- who will be Cruz's biggest competition in camp. Wheaton is battling a shoulder injury himself as he only played in three games last year with the Steelers. There are also guys like Deonte Thompson (also a special teams player), Josh Bellamy and Rueben Randle -- all looking for spots on the roster in the WR position.

With the injury problems this team has suffered over the years, plus his track record, it would be fair to say Cruz has a better chance of making the roster than not. While it is uncertain at present, Cruz could very well be part of the Bears' rebuild this coming season and make a positive impact.